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Full text of "Inward journey : shape and pattern in Green hills of Africa"

























Copyright 198 


Susan Lynn Drake 


ABSTRACT , , ± v 


The Form in the Landscape I 

The View from the Cross: Kandisky the European.. 11 

The View from the Blind: The Narrator 18 

Notes to Part I . 26 


The Narrator ' s Rhinoceros 27 

Karl ' s Rhinoceros , 34 

The Time of Droopy , 45 

Droopy ' s Country , 55 

Notes to Part II » , , 68 


The Guide M ' Cola 7 

M 1 Cola's Country... 7 6 

Beyond M'Cola 83 


The Form in the Landscape 91 

The Sign of the Heart 99 

The Kudu and the Sable 105 

Notes to Part IV 120 




Abstract of Dissertation Presented 
to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida 
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements 
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 



Susan Lynn Drake 

June 1980 

Chairman: W.R. Robinson 
Major Department: English 

The Foreword which opens Green Hills of Afr ica pro- 
poses the narrator's attempt therein to present "the shape 
of a country and the pattern of a month's action." Taking 
direction from this declaration, this analysis pursues a 
formalist concern with "shape" and "pattern" throughout 
the narrative. An examination of the opening images of the 
work reveals twentieth century Western man at a cultural 
crossroads, presented with two views of the world. One, 
the orthodox view from the cross, glorifies the urqe to 
transcend the earth, to be above its processes. The alter- 
native is the heterodox view from the (hunting) blind, which 
acknowledges and accepts the earth in which existential man 
must live. The Christian option being found bankrupt, the 
narrator chooses the secular perspective. From then on, 


his journey through Africa articulates the process by 
which he heals himself of the tradition of the cross and 
proceeds to create his own story as an individual. 

The shapes and patterns of the African safari supply 
the means by which the narrator's journey is recounted: 
the guides, the companions, the topography, and the animals. 
Three native guides conduct separate segments of the safari's 
travels, segments which correspond to distinct phases in the 
narrator's growth. The first guide schools his American 
pupil in the wisdom of the body, the second in the lessons 
of the mind, and the third in the powers of the imagination. 
The combination of these three facets — the sensory, the 
intellectual, and the creative — is seen to produce a whole- 
ness that enables the narrator-as-artist to eventually write 
the account of his journey: Green Hills of Af rica. 

The two American companions, the narrator's wife P.O.M. 
and his friend Karl, function as indicators of their hus- 
band and friend's progress under the guides. Each repre- 
sents a different part of the narrator's psyche, acting as 
an alter ego. The companions emerge into the foreground of 
the story when the values clustered about them are active in 
the narrator, and recede when those values lessen. 

The native guides and the American companions move 
against the background of a landscape whose prevailing forms 
relate the narrator's story on an archetypal level. The 
most dominant topographical feature is the road the safari 

travels upon, which is equated with the inventive, forward- 
thrusting urge in mankind. The road takes the narrator's 
steps through a succession of archetypal matrical forms: 
the Rift Valley, the hunting blind, and the ground cloth 
tent. An overview reveals that these shapes constitute 
advances in man's relationship to the earth. From the pri- 
mordial chasm, to the quantitatively-shaped hollow, to the 
qualitatively-transformed cotton shelter, the earth proves 
responsive to man -as -maker. 

Just as the African earth dynamically structures the 
narrative with its shapes, so do the major animals of the 
safari with the patterns of their horns. For example, the 
narrator hunts the more elemental rhinoceros, whose "horn" 
is merely a fleshy extension of its nose, when he himself 
is embroiled in the functionings of the body. The series 
of antelope encountered in the course of the safari — the 
reedbuck, eland, oryx, water buck — play prologue to the 
most intricate of all the horned game, the kudu and the 
sable. In a closing examination, these two animals are 
considered as aesthetic phenomena. The pair together cli- 
max the narrator's imaginative vision. In the extraordin- 
ary forms of their horns, the narrator sees the workings of 
the life process itself, the spiralling helix of the kudu 
evoking the evolutionary thrust of generation, the scimitar 
curve of the sable, the inevitable and necessary consequence 
of death. 



The Form in the Landscape 

We were sitting in the blind that 
Wanderobo hunters had built of twigs 
and branches at the edge of the salt- 
lick when we heard the truck coming. 
At first it was far away and no one 
could tell what the noise was. Then 
it moved slowly nearer, unmistakable 
now, louder and louder until, agoni- 
zing in a clank of loud irregular 
explosions, it passed close behind us 
to go on up the road. The theatrical 
one of the two trackers stood up. 

"It is finished," he said. 

I put my hand to my mouth and motioned 
him down . 

' : It: is finished," he said again and 
spread his arms wide.l 

In The Nature of Narrative Robert Scholes and Robert 
Kellogg observe that "in Western narrative . . . the hetero- 
dox or personal symbol system has . . . tended to replace 


the orthodox."" One particular Western narrative, Green 
Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway, grapples with just such 
a replacement, documenting the death of the "orthodox" world 
view and heralding the coming of the "heterodox." Such a 
transition is accomplished on every level of the work, gener- 
ically, imagistically, stylistically. And. it is all gener- 
ated by the first scene of the narrative. 

The larger background for this scene augurs a time of 
momentous change, for Green Kills is set in a continent in 
motion. The African locale of the narrative is caught up 
in a natural turmoil, the imminent onslaught of the rainy 
season ("the rains were moving north each day from Rhodesia") 
This natural upheaval triggers in turn a social one, the 
migration of peoples along routes away from the danger ("all 
along the road we passed groups of people making their way 
to the westward"). It is against a backdrop of change on 
continental, seasonal, and populational proportions that 
the narrative opens. The subsequent story grows out of the 
seed of the opening landscape. The narrator and hunting 
party have left their car to sit, waiting for game, in a 
blind beside the road. As they wait, another--f ailing — vehi- 
cle passes along the road. Its movement inspires one of the 
party to his feet, arms outstretched and mouth open. The 
elements of the vignette are few and stark, yet they reso- 
nate through the narrative: the road, the blind, the two 
vehicles, the figure that stands cruciate over the blind 
and the figure that curls within its cavity. This crucial 
conjunction of forms enacts that moment of great transition 
when the narrator of Green Hills — the heterodox individual — 
is born, and a new world with him. It constitutes the cen- 
tral act of the narrative. 

The story the narrator of Green Hills tells is that of 
cha.nge r and the manner in which he tells his story reflects 

his subject. In the introductory essay to Hemingway and 
His Critics , Carlos Baker narrows Scholes and Kellogg 1 s 
observation about the decline of the orthodox and the ascen- 
dancy of the heterodox symbol system in Western literature 
to its more specific application at the hands of Hemingway: 

He seems early to have rejected the 
arbitrary importation of symbols which 
are not strictly germane to the action 
at hand. . . . Instead of ransacking 
other arts and literatures for viable 
symbols, he chose rather to allow the 
object or scene or person whose function 
was to be symbolic to gather its meanings 
through _ a process of association strict- 
ly within the terms of the ongoing narra- 
tive. 3 

This method characterizes all facets of the creative pro- 
cess at work in Green Hills of Africa : by permitting an 
object to "gather its meanings" only by the progress of the 
narrative, the narrator implements on the imagistic plane 
the story of movement he is telling on all other planes. 
The method by which such an object accrues value may be 
observed in that primal image which winds its way through 
the green hills, the road. 

The procession of people passing along its length 
designates the road as a thoroughfare for life: 

[A] 11 along the road we passed groups 
of people making their way to the 
westward. Some were naked except for 
a greasy cloth knotted over one shoul- 
der, and carried bows and sealed quivers 
of arrows. Others carried spears. The 
wealthy carried umbrellas and wore draped 
white clcth and their women walked behind 
them, with their pots and pans. Bundles 
and loads of skins were scattered along 
ahead on the heads of other natives. All 
were travelling away from the famine, (pp. 34-5) 

The westward migration is no indistinguishable press of 
humanity. The diversity of nationalities and cultures pres- 
ent in the scene affords a panoramic display of civiliza- 
tion, incorporating advances from near-nakedness to umbrel- 
las, from primitive arms to household accoutrements, from 
single hunters to family entourages. The people who precede 
the narrator on the road have made their contributions to 
the story of the West — the repetition of the verb "carry" 
constantly evokes the human hands that skinned the pelt, 
shaped the pot, wove the cloth. By this array of progres- 
sively more sophisticated artifacts, the road achieves a 
temporal, evolutionary function. The linkage of the road 
to time and change illuminates the narrator's relationship 
to the scene. Like the people of the procession, he reveals 
an affinity for the road: "watching the road, the people, 
and all clearings in the bush for game," he, too, drives to 
the westward. Like the Wanderobo hunters whose footsteps 
he follows, like the stream of people he joins, the narrator 
is a hunter, a wanderer/wonder er in the story of the West. 
Clearly, whether they be physical implements for modifying 
the environment or intellectual ones for structuring communal 
interaction, the narrator inhabits a world of inherited forms, 
The point at which Green Hills of Africa opens — with its 
first word the sweeping, all-inclusive "We" — picks up the 
story of twentieth century Western man. It designates the 
point when the narrator enters the story of the road, the 

moment at which he joins the procession of man-as~maker and 
accepts the challenge to shape his own form. 

It is along this crucial stretch of road that the 

sweeping dimensions of the change engaging Green Hills are 

delineated. As the narrator waits for game beside the road, 

a truck "moved slowly nearer . . . until, agonizing in a 

clank of loud irregular explosions, it passed close behind 

us to go on up the road." Later, as the hunting party 

return to camp in the narrator's car, their hunting spoiled 

by the vehicle's passage, 

we saw a big fire and as we came up 
and passed, I made out a truck beside 
the road. I told [the driver] to stop 
and go back and as we backed into the 
firelight there was a short, bandy- 
legged man with a Tyroler hat, leather 
shorts, and an open shirt standing 
before an un-hooded engine. ... (p. 6) 

The pattern traced out in the opening sequence by the narra- 
tor' s car and the "agonizing" lorry enacts in miniature the 
larger change transpiring in the narrative. The first 
major topographical image in Green Hills , the road, serves 
as an indicator of human invention. Hence vehicles, as 
human inventions, travel forward upon the road to the degree 
that they manifest the progressive impulse of the road. Ve- 
hicles are always present in Green Hills of Africa , even in 
the farthest reaches of the virgin land in Part IV (p. 225) . 
But though other cars and trucks of the motor safari merit 
reference, more attention is reserved for the narrator's 


car, and most of that at this initial stretch of road. This 
short span of sandy tracks marks the only overlap of the 
journeys of the car and the lorry. The soundness of one 
vehicle and the debility of the other is laid out in the 
topography and chronology of the scene: in a finely choreo- 
graphed maneuver, the younger narrator (having advanced 
beyond the lorry) , must back up in order to reach the immo- 
bile vehicle of the older driver. 

In the dynamics of the road, movement signals growth 
while immobility indicates depletion. As enacted in their 
pas de deux, the overlapping with— and then the surpassing 
of— the lorry by the narrator's car signals the disfunction 
of the values associated with the former vehicle and the 
emergence of new values concomitant with the latter. The 
identification of these values is established by the "pro- 
cess of association" Carlos Baker notes. In the instance 
of the vehicles, their associations are accomplished by 
masterful employment of the tool of juxtaposition. As the 
hunting party crouches in the blind, the disabled lorry 
passes by on the road: 

The theatrical one of the two trackers 
stood up. 

"It is finished," he said. 

I _ put my hand to my mouth and motioned 
him down . 

"It is finished," he said again and 
spread his arms wide. (pp. 2-3) 

The juxtaposition of the guide's speech with the traffic on 

the road provides the vital mechanism of this scene. Most 
fruitful is the indefinite reference of the pronoun in the 
guide's speech. This linguistic leeway enables "It" to 
function in a multiplicity of ways. The most obvious re- 
ferent for "Tt" is the kudu hunting, which the truck has 
just spoiled. But the careful coinciding of the guide's 
outburst with the passage of the vehicle also allows "It" 
to refer to the truck itself. The lorry is certainly as 
"finished" as the hunting. Soon after passing the narrator, 
the lorry ends its agonizing journey beside the road. The 
vehicle fails not because its body gives out but because 
its engine — its working center — is no longer valid. "Do 
you think it could be the timer? It sounded as though it 
might be a timing knock when you went past us," the narrator 
volunteers. Given the temporal context of the road, this 
diagnosis of problems with time and change pinpoints exact- 
ly the ailment of the lorry. A means of forward motion 
that once was operable is not now, emitting what its driver, 
the European Kandisky, calls "that noise of death inside." 

The values associated with the vehicle are thus labeled 
anachronistic. Among all the vehicles on the safari, the 
truck Kandisky drives is specified as a "lorry,'' one of the 
two Briticisms prevalent in the narrative and a term reserved 
in the main for this particular vehicle. This European 
identity is reinforced by the loyalties of the lorry's 
driver, a man who boasts :! I represent European organization." 


To the European identity is added a Christian one as well, 
by the allusion of both the words and the posture of the 
guide to the dying Christ on the cross ('"It is finished, 1 
he said . . . and spread his arms wide."). The echo by the 
lorry driver of "It is finished" ("That lorry is finished") 
seals the identification with the crucifix. Thus, "It" 
(European civilization) , "It" (the religion that fueled 
that civilization) — all the "lt"s associated with the truck 
are finished. The vehicle comes to rest off the road, its 
weight to be hauled away, corpse- like, by a truck from the 

The eclipse of the lorry by the car depicts the tran- 
sition from a Christian to a secular world. Again, the 
indefinite reference in the guide ' s speech provides the 
means for such a conclusion. Lacking a stated reference, 
the pronoun "It" may also be self-ref lexive, referring to 
the allusion itself the guide presents. Put so, the self- 
reflexive pronoun turns the guide's pronouncement against 
itself. In this case, the "It" of "It is finished" is the 
crucifixion itself — now "It" is finished. The Christian 
view of the world, predicated upon the moment of death when 
a human being passes from the existence of earth into an 
other-worldly one, is dead. The transcendental thrust of 
Christianity is absolutely and categorically denied by the 
initial image of Green Hills of Afric a. In the earthen 
blind where the narrative discovers him, the narrator has 

assumed an attitude of waiting. But what results from 
this waiting is not the supernatural agent followers of the 
cruciate figure have anticipated for nearly two thousand 
years, but rather a new human being — born of the earth. 

The place by the side of the road from which the narra- 
tor issues forth to walk the land of Africa and to tell his 
story commands attention. The guide who rises like a cross 
does so as the narrator and others are 

sitting, leaning back, knees high, 
heads low, in a hollow half full of 
ashes and dust, watching through 
the dried leaves and thin branches. . . . 
(P- 5) 

The first observation to be made about the hollow beside the 

road is that it is as much a man-made object as the spears 

and umbrellas which dot the African road. The first sentence 

of Chapter One declares the structure's origins: "We were 

sitting in the blind that Wanderobo hunters had built of 

twigs and branches. ..." Human hands dug the hole and 

placed the vegetation. But unlike the other products of men's 

hands, the blind by virtue of its size and function assumes 

added importance. The walls and cover of the cavity provide 

shelter for the hunters. The resulting completeness with 

which the structure enfolds its human inhabitants likens the 

shelter to a microcosm, to a world. The character of the 

blind as an inherited form lies in the men who shaped it, 

the Wanderobo hunters introduced in the first sentence of 

Chapter One. Yet following such a prominent introduction, 


Wanderobos prove rather scarce in the narrative. One occa- 
sionally wanders through the green hills, leaving traces of 
his foraging (pp. 183-4), but not until Part IV does one 
appear to assist the safari. However, the initial sparce- 
ness of specific Wanderobos invites a broadening of the 
tribal term to include all who have wandered in the earth 
and brought their wonder to bear upon it. The hollow by the 
side of the road functions as a stage in the human flowering 
of the road. Its dimensions mark the frontiers reached by 
the wander er /wonder ers who preceded the narrator, the fron- 
tiers of the world from which Green Hills of Africa unfolds. 

This unfolding begins with the very first word of 
Chapter One. By beginning with the word "We," and thereby 
delaying a strict identification of the referent of the 
plural pronoun, the text reaches out and incorporates the 
reader into its plurality, into its world. The inclusive 
nature of the "We" places the reader most assuredly within 
a human structure—within the hollow of the narrator/hunter, 
within the first person narrative of the narrator/artist. 
The hollow serves as a stage in the events of the road where 
old values are sloughed off and new ones assumed. Its 
confines provide the battleground for two processes at work 
in the narrative, the decline of the "orthodox" world view 
and the initial stirrings of the "heterodox." The blind 
marks the conjunction of the two processes, its critical 
nature punctuated by the terms cf life and death. Much is 


revealed by the physical appearance of the blind, described 
as "a hollow half full of ashes and dust." In depicting 
the withering away of Christianity, Biblical allusions in 
this passage appropriately deal only with death, e.g., the 
corpse of the crucifixion and the "ashes and dust" ("ashes 
to ashes, dust to dust") that partially fill the cavity. 
Most importantly, unlike the artifacts the natives carry 
upon the road, the form the narrator occupies no longer 
functions: no game is ever bagged from the blind. Yet, as 
its description implies, the blind is both a tomb and a 
womb. Surmounted by a human cross and half filled with 
decayed matter, it certainly appears a grave. But at the 
same time the curve of its shape suggests a matrix, and its 
Qther half is filled with a white hunter who, "sitting, 
leaning back, knees high, head . . . low," assumes the posi- 
tion of a fetus. The cocoon-like hollow, dug from dust 
and covered with "dried leaves and thin branches," presents 
to the undiscerning eye an image of death. But within that 
husk dwells the miraculous kernel of change, a wanderer /won- 
derer curled like an unborn child and gifted with the same 
impulse to move and grow. 

The View from the Cross: Kandisky the Euro pean 

As the hunters leave the blind empty-handed and head 
back toward their camp, they pass in the light of a road- 
side fire a "short, bandy-legged man with a Tyroler hat, 


leather shorts, and an open shirt." The driver of the 
lorry, Kandisky appears only in Chapter One, the narrative 
overlap of the car and lorry journeys. He is a European 
expatriate, having left his native Austria for an African 
plantation, and hence a wanderer like the narrator. But 
although this European has wandered geographically, he has 
not stirred imaginatively — no matter how many miles into 
Africa Kandisky may have travelled, his mind is still in 
Europe. As their nationalities attest, the American narra- 
tor and the Austrian Kandisky represent the opposing forces 
in the war (World War I) that consumes such a large part of 
Kandisky 's conversation at lunch the following day (pp. 29-- 
32) . His involvement with the military likens Kandisky to 
another veteran of that same conflict, Frederick Henry. But 
unlike his American counterpart who walked away from the 
conflict, the Austrian has not bidden a farewell to arms. 
In a sense, that conflict still rages in the overlap of 
Chapter One between the American and the European, between 
an individualist and an orthodox! st non pareil. 

Kandisky always exists as a member of a large group. 
In a burst of self-aggrandizement the orthodoxist outlines 
his approach to life: 

"I represent European organization. I 
come now from organizing recruitment 
of the natives. This takes time. It 
is impressive. I have been away from 
my family for three months. The organi- 
zation is organized. You do it in a 
week as easily, but. it is not so 
impressive." (pp. 17-18) 


His life expresses itself only through the many organiza- 
tions in which he has entrenched himself. One such struc- 
ture is the German cause of World War I. An Austrian, 
Kandisky volunteered for the German army and served under 
Von Lettow's command. Nov;, years later, he continues to 
display the same allegiances that motivated that act. For 
this veteran, more than property perished in that conflict; 
the very ideals that generated it, the abstractions of 
"patriot" and "duty," no longer operate in the post-war 
world. When Kandisky seeks indemnification for the African 
plantation he lost and volunteers those abstractions as his 
reasons for fighting, he is told, "That is very beautiful. 
But you cannot hold us responsible for your noble sentiments." 
Kandisky *s lost plantation is emblematic of the larger world 
that ceased to exist at the end of Ivor Id War I. Dispossess- 
ed of land and values, he now wanders the hills of Africa. 

One vestige of Kandisky 's military service survives in 
his concern with titles. He painstakingly addresses the 
party's white hunter as "Colonel" Phillips until Pop cor- 
rects him: "I'm a Mister, by the way. We use these military 
titles as nicknames." The hunters have adapted a public 
formality to a private, affectionate use; Kandisky, however, 
is never known by anything other than his last name. This 
predilection for titles reveals a pervasive bias in the 
former soldier. The European is almost totally verbal in 
his relationship to the world. As one would expect of a 

man who offered his life for abstractions, Kandisky is the 
quintessential man of words. The European looks upon people 
only as functionaries of the structures he maintains, a 
perspective which is formalized in the language he uses. 
Avoiding any expression of a private self, he never allows 
the familiarity that goes with first names or nicknames, 
but rather perpetuates the status quo by using titles or 
the more reserved family names. By his use of words Kandisky 
also preserves another structure, the sisal shamba, owned 
by an East Indian for whom the European—now a manager- 
recruits a native workforce. When the narrator first sights 
Kandisky in the firelight, the organizer stands "in a crowd 
of natives." That image which distinguishes between "manag- 
er" and "crowd" sums up Kandisky 's world outlook. Far from 
acknowledging individuals, he perceives the native Africans 
only as a crowd to be organized, as primitives to be valued 
only as "my cook" or "the boy." One cannot imagine such a 
man enjoying a relationship like that the narrator shares 
with the guide Droopy in Part II or M'Cola in Part III. The 
extent to which the outer man overshadows the inner is 
revealed within that most personal of structures, the fami- 
ly that waits for Kandisky at the sisal shamba. The only 
male in a household of three, he does not particularize the 
Kandisky women. The proprietary "my wife" and "my daughter" 
must suffice. 


Deposed as the head of a shamba, left with a failing 
vehicle ("That lorry is finished. ... it was all that 
remained of my shamba. ... It is all gone except that 
lorry") , Kandisky is chiefly distinguished in Chapter One 
ky an overwhelming sense of loss . The vehicle upon which 
Kandisky enters the narrative is a relic of lost battles, 
lost position, lost values — a lost world. Bluntly faced 
with the dilemma of change, Kandisky reacts with a conserva- 
tive instinct to shore up against that loss. Unable to 
make the transition into a new world, he draws about him- 
self the shards of the past, trying to recreate the Old 
World in the new world of Africa. This effort at recreation 
begins with small details of food and reading matter and 
ends with an all-encompassing world view. For instance, the 
day after the narrator passes Kandisky' s fire, the Austrian 
announces, "Tonight we will have a special dish of Viennese 
dessert. My cook has learned to make it very well." Such 
an offer conjures up the sight of an African more familiar 
with reedbuck tripe and kudu liver piling layer upon layer 
of an over-delicate torte! The offering of neglible nutri- 
tional value pales against the plentiful red meat at the 
hunters' fingertips. 

This attitude of determined indifference to the land 
before him leads Kandisky to seek not only bodily but 
intellectual nourishment from distant European sources. When 
Kandisky first meets the narrator by the fire, he recognizes 


him as "the dichter " of Querschnitt fame (the narrator 
explains: "The Querschnitt was a German magazine I had 
written [for] . . . years before I could sell anything in 
America"). Far away in the heart of Africa, Kandisky longs 
for people he knows only through words, "the great old 
Querschnitt group" of writers, "the people one would see if 
one saw whom one wished to see." The narrator— having seen - 
decides, "I did not wish to destroy anything this man had, 
and so I did not go into those brilliant people in detail." 
From their very first encounter on the road, the dichotomy 
between word and vision, between what Kandisky believes from 
reading to be true and what the narrator knows empirically 
to be false, shapes a major issue in the narrative. 

Kandisky in effect never sees Africa. Just as he pre- 
serves the structures of the past with his language, so he 
denies the living processes of the present. The very first 
word the European utters in Green Hills of Africa is "No," 
and negation hallmarks each of his responses thereafter. 
He says "no" to the natives, preferring to catalogue the 
quaint dances and songs ("[I]t is always interesting. The 
natives and the language. I have many books of notes on 
them") rather than learn from their indigenous knowledge 
of the land; "no" to the nourishment of the drink the narra- 
tor offers ("I never drink. it is not good for the mind"), 
driving the proffer to exclaim, "Don't you ever want to 
change your ideas?"; and "no" to the hunt, priding himself 


on not killing game ("The life of the mind. This is not 
killing kudu"), while blind to the irony of his own dress 
as he "shift [s] his leather-breeched behind," this "Kandis- 
ky of the Tyroler pants." 

The European wanderer, possessed by the past, makes no 
effort to discover the present world that lies before him 
or to adapt himself to the new environment. Instead, he 
merely grafts the old onto the new: 

"I have lost everything here but I 
have more than anyone has in Eu- 
rope. . . . [i] n reality, I am a 
king here. ... I extend one foot 
and the boy places the sock on 
it. . . . i extend the other foot 
and he adjusts the other sock. I 
step . . . into my drawers which 
are held for me. Don't you think 
that is very marvelous?" (p. 31) 

" I am a king here . " It is not far from Viennese desserts 

and German journals to this crowning summation. Kandisky 

has transplanted the whole of the European vision to African 

soil. Perhaps a wanderer, he has lost the capacity for 

wonder, aspiring only to duplicate the same hierarchical, 

static pattern in every facet of his life: champion of a 

world cause, petty tyrant of an African fiefdom, patriarch 

of a submissive family. m each and every manifestation of 

his life, the individual is subordinated to the organization. 

One may label Kandisky' s perspective on the world the 

v iew from the cross . Such identification stems from the 

opening sequence in Green Hills when the guide who recalls 


the crucified Christ stands up in order to do so, towering 
over his earth-covered companions. The juxtaposition of the 
guide's rising with the movement of the lorry suggests the 
European driver's Christian heritage, the tradition which 
determines his way of looking at life. His point of view — 
the view from the cross — is literally and philosophically 
above the earth. It is the perspective of the omniscient 
Christian God who resides not in, but above, the world, 
beyond the reach of change. And it is that perspective 
which dies in the blind. 

The View from the Blind: The Narrator 

Names and titles — verbal confirmation of one's place 
in an ordered universe — are essential to Kandisky's world. 
The same is not true for the narrator. His public identity 
as "Hemingway" arises for the first and only time in conver- 
sation with Kandisky in Chapter One: "Hemingway is a name I 
have heard. Where? Where have I heard it? Oh, yes. The 
dichter . " Kandisky's response to the narrator is to label 
him the "poet," and from then on the European sees not the 
concrete individual before him, but rather a preconceived 
notion of who "Hemingway" should be: "Why should any man 
shoot a kudu? You, an intelligent man, a poet, to shoot 
kudu." It is no surprise that Kandisky's characteristic 
use of language to explore the imagination of this artist 
fails. At the end of the longest conversation in the 


entirety of the narrative (pp. 17-28) , Kandisky is no closer 
to making contact with that talent than he was at their 
firelit meeting on the road. 

After the episode with Kandisky in Chapter One, the 
narrator returns to namelessness for the rest of the safari. 
As Kandisky 's verbal impasse underscores, Green Hills is not 
the story of a name , not the story of a known quantity such 
as "European organization." The significance of the absence 
of names is strengthened by the absence of physical descrip- 
tion of the narrator in the text. He has been ill with 
amoebic dysentary (p. 283); he has scars (p. 53). But for 
all the attention paid to the rest of the body, its well- 
being and functioning, the narrator is as faceless as he is 
nameless. Such an absence forces the reader to look not at 
the narrator, but through his eyes, to assume his point of 
view. The achievement of that point of view is a central 
victory of Green Hills of Africa . From the moment the 
guide in the blind intones, "It is finished," the reader 
inhabits a relativistic world. The validity of any omnis- 
cient perspective concomitant with a Christian universe 
collapses, to be replaced by that of the individual. The 
world of Africa's green hills is not the world of an organi- 
zation man but of the "I" who tells the story of the journey 
thereafter. When the artist adopts the view from the blind 
over the view from the cross, the heterodox over the ortho- 
dox, a new story is born as well as a new storyteller. Green 


Hills is an I/eye narrative , told by an unknown agent of 
untapped possibilities. 

The transition from an orthodox to a heterodox world 
view is reflected in an important visual element of the 
narrative, the twenty-nine illustrations (fourteen of them 
two-page spreads) that punctuate the text. Just as there 
is no set piece of description about the narrator, so there 
is no sketched one. The drawings are characterized by the 
careful scrutiny they bring to all their subjects, whether 
animal, native, or hunter: the ibis (pp. 88-9, 135) and 
hyena (p. 199) , Droopy (p. ii) and the old man of Part IV 
(p. 245), Pop and P.O.M. at Lake Manyara (pp. 124-5). But 
the sketches are particularly valuable in their treatment 
of the narrator. There exist no portraits, no closeups 
that probe for clues to his "character." Rather than exist- 
ing as a completed essence before the narrative takes place, 
the narrator becomes during the unfolding of it. 3y his 
interaction with the phenomenon of Africa, he creates him- 
self. Given this emphasis on self-realization, the draw- 
ings reveal much concerning the narrator's valuation of 
certain human attributes. For example, the human head, as 
the seat of the intelligence, is not isolated from or cele- 
brated apart from the body. Instead, the drawings present 
whole-body silhouettes at a distance— the narrator inte- 
grated into the landscape (pp. 68-9, 136-7). The green 
hills thus presented do not constitute a lost world like 


that of Kandisky, but a world with which the narrator is 
very much at one. The narrator's relationship to his world, 
the key relationship in the narrative, resides in the part 
of speech indicating relation, the preposition. The first 
preposition in the text of Green Hills is "in" ("We were 
sitting in the blind that Wanderobo hunters had built"). 
The relationship laid out in that word resonates through 
the sweep of the story, from the first preposition to the 
last — to the last word, in fact, of the narrative. The re- 
lationship of "in" between the narrator and his world deter- 
mines the topographical imagery of the African landscape: 
the narrator squats in the blind, moves in the human traffic 
of the road. In fact, "in" serves as the very nucleus of 
the narrative itself. It is from the "in"-nermost point of 
view — that of a first person narrator , who is an active 
protagonist , whose main activity is writing — that the narra- 
tor creates Green Hills of Africa , the imaginative answer 
to Kandisky' s intellectual "books of notes." 

From style to imagery, the first paragraphs identify 
Green Kills of Africa as a story of movement, The narra- 
tive opens in medias res ; the progressive first verb, "were 
sitting," indicates continuous action; and the imagery 
augments such action: into the world of the narrator comes 
a truck passing along the road he waits beside. The aptness 
of this genre to the narrator's experience quickly becomes 


evident. The story of the road, in this case an African 
safari, lends itself readily to the telling of this narra- 
tive. Being a tale of outward movement, it easily renders 
simultaneous inner movement of the protagonist. The jour- 
ney through the green hills is not a mere accumulation of 
experiences one after the other. It is a dynamic model of 
the qualitative personal growth the narrator undergoes . 

All elements of the safari function in this model — 
the guides, the companions, the animals. The African jour- 
ney divides into three segments, each under the aegis of a 
particular native guide. These three lengths of road cor- 
respond to phases in the American's maturation, a process 
of which the guides are limited promoters. The native that 
governs a segment is endowed with certain talents and 
awarenesses which he evokes and nurtures in the narrator 
during his ascendency in the hunt. When the narrator fully 
acquires these new skills, the native mentor fades from the 
action and the narrator advances to more demanding lessons. 

The narrator's sojourn with the guides is cast in the 
imagery of disease and health, his stay on the African con- 
tinent coinciding with his recovery from a European disease: 

Already I had had one of the diseases 
and had experienced the necessity of 
washing a three- inch bit of my large 
intestine with soap and water and tuck- 
ing it back where it belonged in unnum- 
bered amount of times a day. There 
were remedies which cured this and it 
was well worth going through for v/hat 
I had seen and where I had been. Besides 
I caught that, on the dirty boat out from 
Marseilles. (p. 283) 


The three guides who supervise this coincident journey and 
healing — Droopy, M'Cola, and the Wanderobo of Part IV — 
present in their approaches to life a pattern of health. 
By placing himself under the mentorship of these three and 
incorporating their lessons into his life, the narrator 
survives illness and achieves wholeness. The nature of the 
guides' lessons stems from the death knell sounded in the 
opening scene, "It is finished." Among numerous subjects, 
the indefinite pronoun "it" refers to the self -reflexive 
subject of the crucifixion itself. With the diminishment 
of the crucifixion, the mortification of the flesh glori- 
fied therein also ends. The narrator is an inheritor of 
this Christian tradition, as reflected in the diseased 
condition of his own body. In order to advance beyond the 
defunct tradition of the cross, an individual and cultural 
healing must be enacted. A significant trait of the narra- 
tor's recuperation is that none of the natives guiding the 
safari overlap in their authority. This clear division 
places great emphasis upon the sequence in which they guide 
the narrator. His first steps along the road follow those 
of Droopy, from whom he learns the wisdom of the body. 
This youngest and most elemental of the guides leads the 
narrator in the flashback of Part II from the reedbuck hunt 
of Chapter Three to the Rift Valley of Chapter Six. With 
the resurgence of sensory health, the narrator next comes 
under the sway of the older guide M'Cola, who assumes 


prominence in Chapter Six. M'Cola presents the narrator 
with an alternative to the tyrannical intellect rampant in 
Kandisky. He offers a mental outlook oriented not to immu- 
table truths, but to empirical observation of the world's 
events. And, finally, the narrator travels in Chapter 
Twelve with a guide at his side known only by his tribal 
name, a Wanderobo. 

The brief span of the third guide's involvement (he 
enters on the last scheduled day of the safari) and the 
prophetic nature of that entrance (he bears the long-awaited 
news of kudu and sable that sparks the narrator into action) 
suggest that the Wanderobo functions less as a personality 
and more as the qualities suggested by his name. The first 
sentence of the narrative ("We were sitting in the blind 
that Wanderobo hunters had built") places the narrator 
squarely in the tradition of these hunters. The earthen 
hollow constitutes part of the legacy of the Wanderobo; the 
values inherent in his tribal name constitute another. 

These qualities equip the American wanderer to act as 
an agent of the imagination in Green Hills of Africa . The 
first association of Wanderobo, "to wander," describes a 
creature moving through his world. The word presumes no 
destination. It focuses not on an end to which the journey 
and surroundings are merely incidental, not on the eventual 
cessation of movement. Rather, "wander" celebrates the 
phenomenon of movement and the arena in which it takes 


place. To this story of the road the homonymic pun, "to 
wonder," contributes additional dimensions. The narrator 
brings to bear upon his environment that spirit of inquiry 
and observation raised by one meaning of the pun, "to 
speculate." This curiosity, this passion to see marks the 
adventure of the I/eye newly issued from the Uanderobo 
shelter. And finally the pun functions within another of 
its definitions, "to feel wonder." With the return of 
physical health and mental perspective, the creative facul- 
ty also wells up within the narrator, infusing the sights 
of Africa with a narrative cohesion. At the close of his 
African journey, the narrator has achieved an inward whole- 
ness that will soon produce the vision that is Green Hills 
of Africa. 


Notes to Part I 

Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935), pp. 2-3. Further citations 
will be given in the text. 


Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature of 
Narrative (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 98. 

Carlos Baker, "Introduction: Citizen of the World," 
in Hemingway and His Critics , ed. Carlos Baker (New York: 
Hill and Wang, 1962), p. 15. 


The Narrator's Rhinoceros 

The imagery of the African safari provides the mecha- 
nism for tracing the journey the narrator takes toward inner 
and outer health. One component of that mechanism, the 
native guides, enter and pass from the ranks of the hunting- 
party. However, another component, the companions of the 
safari, are constants in a world of change, there at the 
beginning of the African adventure and there at the end. 
Consequently, they perform a different service in chronicling 
the narrator's story. The guides preside over long-range 
periods of growth and then step aside as the narrator reaches 
and then exceeds the limits of their expertise. However, the 
companions act as alter egos for the narrator, The values 
that cluster about each one are always present in the 
narrator's psyche; the companions come to the fore in the 
story when those values are being emphasized in him and 
diminish when those values are de-emphasized. By such 
delicate and ever-changing interplay, the companions 
provide an indicator of the narrator's progress. Two 
Americans accompany the narrator into the continent, 
P.O.M., his wife, and Karl Kabor, his friend and fellow 



hunter. Much of the "action at hand" in the seven chapters 

of Part II stems from the friction between the narrator 

and the companion Karl. Chapters Three and Four relate 

the first skirmish in this conflict, a skirmish fought 

by means of the rhinoceros. 

Just as the guides acquire significance by the 

sequence in which they conduct the safari, so do the major 

animals of Green Hills by the sequence in which they are 

hunted. The predominant species never overlap; a rhinoceros 

is killed only in Chapter Four. The African rhino is the 

first big game encountered in the flashback of Part II, 

an animal free of associations in Western culture. Instead, 

the rhinoceros gains its importance from the American hunter 

who pursues it. That importance begins with its initial 

sighting by the narrator from a hilltop: 

Until five o'clock we did not see 
anything. Then, without the glasses, 
I saw something moving over the 
shoulder of one of the valleys 
toward a strip of the timber. In 
the glasses it was a rhino, showing 
very clear and minute at the dis- 
tance, red-colored in the sun, moving 
with a quick waterbug-like motion 
across the hill. Then there were 
three more of them that came out of 
the forest, dark in the shadow, and 
two that fought, tinily, in the 
glasses, pushing head-on, fighting 
in front of a clump of bushes while 
we watched them and the light failed, 
(pp. 49-50) 

Just as the action of Part I springs from the blind 

beside the road, so that of Part II springs from the 


sighting of the rhino. The place and the manner by which 
it enters the narrative indicate the importance of this 
animal: the rhino are sighted from the first green hill 
in Green Hills of Africa ("we . . . climbed, sweating, the 
small, steep hill on the right to sit there with our backs 
against the hilltop and glass the . . . green, pleasant 
country") , and their entrance is described strictly within 
the language of a vision. Prohibited by distance and rough 
terrain from physical contact, permitted access only by 
"the glasses" that are so carefully mentioned in three of 
the four sentences of this passage, the narrator can contact 
the game only as an image, only aesthetically. So, in 
this, the maiden hunt of the longest section of the book, 
a hunt described as "fine" even though no game is taken, 
the narrator sits atop the first green hill of his story 
and conceives a vision that ripples outward to touch the 
entire course of events in Part II. 

Details of the four rhino glimpsed from the hill 
substantiate the comprehensiveness of this vision. In 
the rhino hunt, inner and outer realities work together; 
the rhino objectifies outwardly the inner state of its 
pursuers. The dynamics of the narrative are generated by 
a finely-honed correspondence between the men and the 
animals thay pursue: the characteristics and behavior 
of the sought-after illuminate subtly yet profoundly the 
desires and drives of the seekers. The correspondence 


between the two is established in several ways, beginning 
with numbers: a lead rhino followed by a herd of three 
mirrors the pioneering white hunter Pop and his American 
hunting party. In addition, in a Part whose chief action 
derives from conflict between two hunters, the animals 
they pursue are the only beasts in the entire safari to 
be observed fighting, and fighting between themselves 
at that. By the parallel thus set up between men and 
beasts, the "two [rhino] that fought, tinily, in the 
glasses" place the ongoing competition between the nar- 
rator and Karl squarely within the context of a territo- 
rial battle between two dominant males. 

The rhinoceros emerges as vital from its very first 
appearance, trotting vigorously out onto the hill and 
flashing vividly before the narrator's eye, "red-colored 
in the sun." Red, the color of blood, of animal life, 
distinguishes the rhino throughout the hunt. But even 
more important is the source of that color. To P.O.M. 's 
query, "What makes them so red?," Pop replies, "Rolling 
in the mud." The narrator's rhino, too, shows "muddy 
red." Thus the rhino wallows in the matrix of the earth, 

absorbing its coloration and energy from an earthly, 

not a celestial, origin. And the pursuers of the rhino 

are imbued with the same vigor as the game. Much is 

made back in camp after the rhino sighting about the 


hunters 1 own bathing in "nice, warm, muddy water." Such 
immersion befits a protagonist born of an earthen blind. 

Along with the above-mentioned components of the 
narrator's hilltop vision — the place and manner of entrance 
of the rhinoceros, their preoccupation and color — one other 
trait reinforces and expands the analogy between pursuers 
and pursued. These most contentious of game clash "head- 
on," just as do the narrator and Karl in their rivalry 
for the heads of the game. But a more comprehensive 
clash between "heads" is involved, a conflict between 
the mental outlooks of the two hunters. When Chapter 
Four comes to a close, each hunter has bagged a rhino, 
and each rhino embodies that particular hunter's concep- 
tion of the enterprise engaging him. 

The narrator ' s hunt culminates in this animal : 

There he was, long hulked, heavy-sided, 
prehistoric looking, the hide like 
vulcanized rubber and faintly trans- 
parent, scarred with a badly healed 
horn wound that the birds had pecked 
at, his tail thick, round, and pointed, 
flat many-legged ticks crawling on him, 
his ears fringed with hair, tiny pig 
eyes, moss growing on the base of his 
horn that grew out forward from his 
nose. (p. 7 9) 

The narrator's observation of his rhino is singularly 
vivid and rich in particulars. In fact, this passage consti- 
tutes the initial vision of the green hill come to fruition. 
What began as several animals viewed from afar in a dominating 
landscape has narrowed to one specific animal confronted 


in all its immediacy and uniqueness. Just as they did 
in the procession of natives along the road in Part I, 
artifacts play an integral role in the events of the 
rhino hunt. The impulse that brings the narrator down 
from his hillside seat to the side of the rhino aligns 
him as closely with the binoculars by which he first 
discerned the animal as with the gun that felled it. This 
emphasis on the instrument of sight gives equal import 
to the narrator's role as artist: in the act of learning 
to focus, to distinguish the individual from the herd, 
the eye of the creator undergoes substantial refinement. 

One of the details revealed under the narrator's 
scrutiny of the rhino concerns the animal's physical 
condition; its hide is "scarred with a badly healed horn 
wound that the birds had pecked at." Besides identifying 
this rhino as one of the battling males viewed from the 
hill, the scars also mark the narrator's prize as no 
perfect specimen, but rather as a participant in and 
veteran of the conflicts of the world. In addition to 
rejecting an other-worldly standard of perfection, the 
physical state of the rhino bears witness to the animal's 
mortality. Once the Christian promise of immortality dies, 
the question for the existential wanderer/wonderer 
becomes how to live in and with the consequences of the 
world. That this is the lesson on which the narrator 
is embarked is substantiated by his own likeness to the 


rhino. Of all the concrete description in Green Hills of 

Africa , little of it deals with the narrator. The only 

item he relates about himself is that he, like the rhino, 

has been ill and, like the rhino, bears scars: 

My own scars were all informal, some 
irregular and sprawling, others simply 
puffy welts. I had one on my forehead 
that people still commented on, asking 
if I had bumped my head. . . .(p. 53) 

Thus both hunter and hunted emerge as creatures 
buffeted by experience. In a major function the animals 
of Africa perform in Green Hills , the rhinoceros stands 
as a stage in the growth of its pursuer. Scarred, the 
narrator incorporates the conditions of twentieth 
century, post-Christian life; wounded, he must now learn 
the lessons of the body that will result in healing. This 
sensory orientation is indicated by his interaction with 
the beast: he looks at and describes the whole body of 
the rhino, valuing not just the prize of the head and 
horn, but the complete animal. The story of Part II, 
then, develops out of the narrator's need to grow into 
a wholeness of body, to not only survive in the world, 
but to flourish. 

That the rhino indicates growth in the narrator is 
borne out by the vital part movement plays in the hunt. 
Theirs is a dynamic encounter, initially an inner one as 
the narrator responds to the challenge of the "muddy red" 
game ("I was very excited at seeing him") , his own blood 


racing; then one of outer movement as success depends upon 

his ability to anticipate and then go with the actions 

of the rhino. 

He showed, trotting into the shallow, 
boulder filled stream. Thinking of 
one thing, that the shot was perfectly 
possible, but that I must lead him 
enough, must get ahead, I got on him, 
then well ahead of him, and squeezed 
off. I heard the whonk of the bullet 
and, from his trot, he seemed to 
explode forward. (p. 7 6) 

The encounter demands, and receives, the best of the 

hunter's skill (the horn is "nothincr extra. That was a 

hell of a shot you made on him though, brother") . The 

results of the narrator's effort, that extraordinary 

show of proficiency called forth in the one-on-one 

confrontation, stresses that the process of hunting 

engages the narrator's passion. He does not walk away 

with the "best" rhino, with another trophy — in fact, 

quite the opposite, given the condition of the rhino 

and the size of its horn. What he does walk away with 

from the rhino hunt is the internal victory of having 

set, and met, his own challenge. 

Karl's Rhinoceros 

At the same time the narrator faces his rhinoceros 
in an encounter of far-reaching dimensions, the other 
American hunter on the safari, his friend Karl, also 
brings down a rhino. And just as the first animal 


reveals the impulsions of the narrator, so the second 
reveals those of Karl: 

There was the newly severed head of a 
rhino that was a rhino. He was twice 
the size of the one I had killed. 
The little eyes were shut and a fresh 
drop of blood stood in the corner of 
one like a tear. The head bulked 
enormous and the horn swept up and 
back in a fine curve. The hide was 
an inch thick where it hung in a 
cape behind the head and was as white 
where it was cut as freshly sliced 
coconut. (p. 83) 

The overwhelming feature of Karl's rhinoceros in 

contrast to the narrator's is that this animal is already 

dead when first viewed. The inanimate rhino climaxes 

a hunt devoid of interaction between hunter and hunted. 

Karl does not track the animal through the hills and 

streams of its own ground, but stumbles upon it "just 

outside of camp"; neither does he draw upon his skill 

as a marksman in the confrontation, rather downing the 

animal with an undetermined "five or six [shots], I 

guess." When the narrator looks out from the green hill 

at the spectacle of the battling bulls before him he 

sees in their "head-on" conflict the same battle of 

heads he fights with Karl. As becomes clear when he 

regards his rhino, his mind is learning to value the 

creatures of the world in their concrete wholeness, a 

wholeness which necessitates consideration of and for the 

body. Not so with Karl. "The newly severed head," the 


"enormous" head, "this dead, head-severed" rhino — Karl 
pursues and triumphantly captures the head of heads. 
Already skinned, his rhino hangs emptied of all traces 
of body. Its quantitative considerations of "size," 
"bulk," and "inches" merit acclaim in the public realm, 
a rhino born to adorn some sportsman's wall. But quali- 
tatively the prize is as hollow as its skin. Lacking 
all individuating characteristics (no ticks, moss, or 
scars here) , the monumental head represents the antithesis 
of the narrator's private and personal achievement. 

The deadness that typifies Karl's approach to the 
hunt is expounded in two similes that appear in the 
description of his rhinoceros. Both figures record the 
diminution of the rhino's most salient feature, its red 
color. In the first instance ("a fresh drop of blood 
stood in the corner of one [eye] like a tear") , the color 
that flashed so vividly before the narrator's eye from 
the hilltop has in this specimen assumed the hue of sorrow, 
In fact, the weeping head of "this huge, tear-eyed marvel 
of a rhino," framed by a shroud of hide, resembles nothing 
so much as a tragic mask. The second simile documents 
the scope of this regression. In Karl's rhino, "the hide 
. . . was as white where it was cut as freshly sliced 
coconut." The figure performs a double .function. A food 
metaphor, it ironically describes a creature whose pursuer 
cannot feed upon his kill. Karl's incapacity to utilize 


the body is underscored when his plan to capture a leopard 
with the rhino carcass is thwarted by a protected lion. 
But even more significantly, the startling whiteness 
the metaphor discloses about the hide presents a creature 
blanched of the vitality that so distinguished the animals 
of the hill in that original vision. Far from flowing 
throuqh veins or denotinq intimate contact with the earth, 
red appears in this rhino only as blood spilled at the 
hands of Karl ("He was shakv with excitement and I saw 
he had been washing blood off his hands") . By no 
accident do the eyes of this rhinoceros close shut. With 
eyes as blind as those of the dead game, Karl cannot par- 
take of the vision of life the narrator perceives in the 
opening pages of Part II. 

The workings of the human head that resembles this 
rhino are set forth in the passage that marks Karl's 
entrance into camp : 

"Whatever you say," Karl said. His mind 
was bitterly revolving eight blank days 
of hill climbing in the heat, out before 
daylight, back at dark, hunting an animal 
whose Swahili name he could not then 
remember, with trackers in whom he had 
no confidence, coming back to eat alone, 
no one to whom he could talk, his wife 
nine thousand miles and three months 
away, and how was his dog and how was 
his job, and god-damn it where were 
they and what if he missed one when he 
got shot, he wouldn't, you never missed 
when it was really important, he was 
sure of that, that was one of the tenets 
of his faith, but what if he got excited 


and missed, and why didn't he get any 
letters, what did the guide say kongoni 
for that time, they did, he knew they 
did, but he said nothing of all that, 
only, "Whatever you say," a little 
desperately. (p. 62) 

This paragraph delineating Karl ' s thoughts upon the 

hunting he has just concluded stands out in the narrative 

for, except for the use of the third person point of view, 

the passage is an interior monologue, the only one of 

its kind in the book. By its structure, that of an 

essentially one-sentence paragraph, the monologue traces 

the activity of a "mind . . . revolving." 

Firearms, of course, constitute as necessary a part 

of the safari's equipment as vehicles and tents and, 

like the other elements, contribute to the imagistic 

richness of the hunt. On at least three separate occasions 

in the journey through Africa, the double-barreled shot- 

qun and the Springfield rifle owned by the narrator figure 

decisively in crucial turning points of the narrator's 

journey. However, the gun suggested in Karl's monologue 

("His mind was bitterly revolving eight blank days") is 

the first to introduce firearm imagery. That suggested 

weapon, the revolver, draws attention to itself and to 

Karl because, unlike the larger shotgun and rifle, it 

is not a standard hunting instrument. As a metaphor this 

particular gun illuminates the dynamics of the mind of 

the hunter. The revolver connotes action that is circular 


and repetitive. Karl's meditation upon his days in the 
hills follows precisely this pattern, picking up a detail 
(the "Swahili name he could not then remember") , worrying 
with it ("god-damn it where were they " ) , and returning 
to it again ("what did the guide say kongoni for that 
time, they did, he knew they did"), with no progress made 
or resolution reached through the mind's ruminations. 
The identical phrases beginning and ending the passage 
("Whatever you say," "Whatever you say") reinforce the 
mental stalemate. 

The obsession with words which prevails in the 
monologue typifies Karl's sojourn in Africa: he misses 
his quarry because he misunderstands a name ; he bemoans 
a lack of companionship because there is no one to talk 
to (alone, among forty M'Bulusi); he is haunted by 
formulated tenets he must live up to; and he languishes, 
in the heart of Africa, from a lack of letters from home. 
His preference for words hinders a full experiencing of 
the wonder of the continent; the few sensory references 
in the monologue relate only hardships suffered in its 
terrain. As emptied of body as his trophy, Karl is one 
big head. 

Appropriately, this head seeks out an aesthetic 
form indigenous to a man of words, the convention of the 
unspoken soliloquy. As mentioned above, this literary 
style is peculiar to Karl alone in Green Hills of Africa . 


In addition to identifying his habit of mind, the soliloquy 
also suggests Karl's state of mind; the utterance of a 
lone speaker, the soliloquy expresses the estrangement 
resulting from Karl's verbal obsession. No one on the 
safari is more determinedly alone than Karl, deprived of 
wife, job, and home, aloof from the continent he traverses 
and the people he meets, obsessed with only one facet of 
a multi-faceted event. When a human mind can be reduced 
to the image of a revolver, that mind is a mind consumed. 
But the analogy of the revolver makes an even more 
damning assertion: the mind, or more precisely that 
intellectual bent of mind which prevails in Karl, fails 
as a weapon, as a means of viable action within the world. 
The impotence of such a mind is carried through in the 
image of the revolver, its ammunition onlv blanks, its 
action only mechanical. 

If certain traits found in the hunter Karl sound 
familiar, that is because they have been encountered 
before in the narrative. Karl is the intellectual great- 
grandson of "Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier, and Company," 
the Americans of whom the narrator stated in Part I, "You 
[would not] gather that they had bodies. They had minds, 
yes. Nice, dry, • clean minds." And he is the first cousin 
of the European intellectual to whom the narrator made this 
observation— Kandisky. Parallels between the European 


and this American abound. The personal situation of each 
man includes a present lack of wife, job, and home; Karl's 
name mimics Kandisky's in its Germanic spelling; and both 
men indulge in aesthetic forms concomitant with verbal 
man, conversation in Kandisky's case and the unspoken 
soliloquy in Karl's. The extent and import of the link 
between these two men becomes even clearer in the chronology 
of Green Hills . One recalls that Part II, "Pursuit Re- 
membered," is told as a flashback. Therefore Karl's foray 
into the hills (of which we see only the return) and 
Kandisky's journey along the road (of which we see only 
the end) coincide. The narrative concerns itself with 
Karl and his story when the Western man consummate in 
Kandisky holds sway. 

Karl, of all the hunting party, most resembles the 
narrator in age, sex, and skill, and the groundwork for 
his function as an alter ego is laid out early in the 
narrator's observation of the two male rhinos locked in 
territorial combat upon the green hill. The outcome of 
the battle between the verbal values Karl espouses and 
the visual ones the narrator is learning rides with 
these respective champions; the American soul wrestles 
with itself as its two sons engage in a contest cf such 
consequence that the very earth is riven between them. 

The Quest for dominance appears most blatantly in 
the politics of the hunt when the two hunters scrupulously 


divide up the territorial "beats" between themselves. 
Karl and the narrator never hunt the big game together, 
and the. supposed infringement by the narrator upon Karl's 
territory triggers an explosion in the latter in Chapter 
Eight. The schism extends from Africa to America: "He 
made my rhino look so small that I could never keep him 
in the same small town where we lived. He had wiped him 
out." But it assumes its most powerful proportions in 
the topographical feature which commands the landscape 
of Part II, the Rift Valley. The sentence which introduces 
Karl into Part II designates this landmark as his destina- 

The trucks were to bring Karl in from 
his kudu camp where he seemed to be 
getting disgusted, or discouraged, 
or both, and he could go down to the 
Rift Valley the next day and kill some 
meat and try for an oryx. (p. 61) 

From this first appearance in Chapter Three, Karl's very 
presence entails a rift. 

That the differences between these two seemingly 
similar men should reach such dimensions indicates a 
crucial cleaving of allegiances within the narrator. 
The model for this division crops up in a chat between 
Jackson Phillips and the narrator the night immediately 
preceding the rhino kills. 

Pop was puzzled why the rhino were 
all gone. Each day we had seen less 
and we discussed whether it could be 
the full moon, that they fed out at 


night and were back in the forest 
in the morning before it was light, 
or that they winded us, or heard 
the men, and were simply shy and 
kept in the forest, or what was it? 
Me putting out the theories, Pop 
pricking them with his wit, some- 
times considering them from polite- 
ness, sometimes with interest, like 
the one about the moon. (pp. 74-5) 

The image of the moon in the narrator's speculations regard- 
ina rhino behavior also contains the crux of the human 
behavior. Two processes are going on in Part II: the 
narrator, as he learns of the world and the body, is 
waxing ; his counterpart Karl is waning . The gradual slough- 
ing off of Karl and the values he embraces is accomplished 
verbally and visibly. Suggestions of obsolescence cluster 
about Karl throughout tne course of Part II. "Old Karl," 
"Good old Karl," "old Karl," "old Karl" mark the hunter's 
decline. His appearance also bodes ill: "Karl was thin 
now, his skin sallow, his eyes very tired looking and he 
seemed a little desperate." From his first steps into 
camp, Karl steadily atrophies. While reaping one 
external trophy after another, he withers internally, 
over the course of seven chapters growing "steadily 

gloomier," "tired," "pale and gaunt looking," "tired" 

a descent which climaxes in the narrator's diagnosis, 
"I don't think he's well now." 

The waning of Karl augurs an adjustment in the 
Western psyche, a bringing into proportion of one facet 


of being—the intellect— which has tyrannized others. Its 
consequent diminishment provides a space for the rediscovery 
and burgeoning of the body that occupies Part II. Karl 
wanes because he is trapped within his own mental revolutions, 
unable to reach outside them for physical or emotional 
nourishment. Pop confirms this starvation with another 
food image, "I think he's off his feed a little." In the 
end, a mind revolving is a mind consuming itself. 

The final passage of Chapter Nine documents Karl ' s 
inability to advance upon the road. The closing scene 
carefully recapitulates the opening scene of the narrative, 
its recurring elements inviting comparison. Karl describes 
the hunt: "We were in the blind and they motioned me to 
keep my head down and then when I looked up there he was 
right beside us." The situation is the same as when the 
narrator crouched beside the road in Part I: a hunter, 
a womb-like blind, and the all-inclusive "we" that 
presides at the event. But in Karl's case no birth 
transpires; this hunter is not to be the next wanderer/ 
wonderer in the long line of artificers. Karl fails 
because he provides no limbs to assume the fetal position, 
because he proffers a verbal artifact, the soliloquy, that 
proves inadequate as a tool. Realizing his incompleteness 
as an agent of life, the "we" dissociates itself from Karl 
and becomes an exclusive "they," motioning back the 
untoward head. Significantly, the gesture of the "they" 


reproduces exactly the movement with which the narrator 
repudiates the black guide associated with Christianity 
and European civilization in Chapter One ("'It is finished,' 
he said. I put my hand to my mouth and motioned him down") 
With this movement the "we" aligns itself with the 
narrator; it is his story the voices of the road share, 
not Karl's. 

The Time of Droopy 

Just as the waning of the moon describes the diminish- 

ment of Karl recorded in Part II, so its waxing describes 

the simultaneous flourishing of the narrator. The narrator 

explicitly designates the period of this waxing as "the 

time of Droopy" (p. 46) . Chapter Three begins with the 

American hunter carefully perusing the figure of the 

African guide: 

Droopy was a real savage with lids to 
his eyes that nearly covered them, 
handsome, with a great deal of style, 
a fine hunter and a beautiful tracker. 
He was about thirty-five, I should 
think, and wore only a piece of 
cloth, knotted over one shoulder, 
and a fez that some hunter had given 
him. He always carried a spear, 
(p. 46) 

One feature attracting the narrator's visual attention in 

the opening passage is Droopy ' s attire, unique to him 

among the principal natives of the safari. The knotted 

cloth and the spear, however, recall other hunters 


encountered earlier in the narrative, the line of the 
westward migration upon the road: "Some were naked except 
for a greasy cloth knotted over one shoulder, and carried 
bows and sealed auivers of arrows. Others carried spears." 
Droopy 's costume places him squarely among these bearers 
of artifacts and culture; it is as if he has stepped out 
of the procession to walk with the new hunter on the road 
for a time. In addition to dress, another of the guide's 
traits attracts the narrator; the native is "about thirty- 
five, I should think." The interjection of the narrative 
first person into this particular detail indicates its 
importance; of all the participants on the safari, Droopy 
alone is the same age as the narrator. 2 This sharing of 
time in their personal lives, as emphasized by the 
personal pronoun, underscores the affinity between the 
handsome hunter and the I/eye who regards him. The 
time of Droopy portends a propitious time for the 
narrator . 

In Part II Droopy presides at the initial sighting 
and subsequent downing of the narrator's rhinoceros: 
"[M'Cola] and I [were] huntinq together and Droopy in 
command of the show." The result of that show, the rhino 
with its commanding features of physical size and bulk, 
indicates the values of the guide presiding over its 
mastery. In the growth of the narrator, Droopy serves 
as a guide to the body. Droopy ' s own body initiates 


this role. The native possesses a naturally attractive 
face and physique; in addition, he boasts tribal scars, 
"handsome ones beside his cheekbones and others, symmetrical 
and decorative, on his chest and belly." As they do in 
the description of his scars, the words "handsome" and 
"beautiful" keynote Droopy ' s appearance on the safari, 
being applied to him by men and women alike, and even 
italicized at times (p. 64) . Thus, as confirmed by 
the narrator's visual scrutiny and by the verbal approba- 
tions, throughout Droopy' s time in the hunt people respond 
to him first and foremost as an aesthetic phenomenon . 
The unique character of his beauty indicates his 
importance to the narrator. Droopy' s patterned skin 
evidences a concern with the surface and the visual. 
It constitutes an explicit recognition and glorification 
of the body and its image, nature enhanced at the hands 
of man. 

As do all the guides, Droopy serves in two capacities, 
guiding the narrator/hunter through the country of Africa 
and the narrator/artist through the terrain of art. It 
is vital to the workings of the narrative that these two 
functions issue from the same source, that what makes good 
hunting makes good art. During the rhino hunt, the 
narrator learns from Droopy that art and action are one 
and the same. Looking beautiful, functioning beautifully, 
the African completely integrates the two. He admits no 


disparity between the surface and the reality, between 
the adorned skin and the trained muscles. The word which 
recurs in the narrator's consideration of Droopy, and 
which captures the unity the guide has achieved, is style. 
"Handsome, with a great deal of style," "a great stylist 
in everything he did"— style as evidenced by Droopy is 
not just extraneous flourish, but a marriage of inner 
talent and outer training. its holistic quality surfaces 
in the climactic moment of the rhino hunt when Droopy 
goes in first after the downed game, pausing only to 
remove his fez: 

"That's all the precautions he 
needs," Pop said. "We bring up 
a couple of heavy guns and Droopy 
qoes in after him with one article 
less of clothing." (p. 77) 

The guide's quintessential act at this juncture of life 

and death is to shed the superfluous object. He is able 

to perform the task before him because he carries within 

him the resources equal to that task. 

One organ in particular distinguishes the superb 

body of the guide. "With lids . . . that nearly covered 

them," his eyes are the first feature the narrator notices. 

That feature gives rise to his name, the nickname "Droopy," 

the familiarity of which further strengthens the personal 

significance the African guide holds for the American 

hunter. It also pinpoints the gift the two men hold in 

common, the gift of vision. Droopy ' s eyes make possible 


his occupation, his art, as "a fine hunter and a beautiful 
tracker." He must bring his physical prowess, his intimacy 
with land and game, and above all his trained eye to the 
task at hand. Be it blood spoor in the high grass, rhino 
track in the mud, or buffalo droppings in the rocks, to 
assure success — and survival — the tracker must find the 
pattern in the earth . 

A patterned being in a world of pattern, Droopy inhabits 
an aesthetic universe. As has each of the makers in that 
line from which he steps, Droopy molds with his hands a form, 
in his case the body — his own and those of his world. The 
narrator receives a major lesson in the art of the body from 
Droopy when he shoots a reedbuck in Chapter Three. Delineat- 
ing the roles of novice and teacher, the passage is phrased 
as a lesson. The only animal taken in that chapter, the 
buck appears when Droopy and the narrator hunt alone. 
After succeeding in his wish "to make a shot to impress 
Droopy," the narrator displays his skill with the reedbuck, 
limited chiefly to dissection: 

Once bled, I started to open him, 
with the little knife, still showing 
off to Droopy, and emptying him 
neatly took out the liver, cut away 
the gall, and laying the liver on a 
hummock of grass, put the kidneys 
beside it. (p. 54} 

Atter viewing this demonstration, Droopy then takes his 

turn, transforming the carcass from mere pieces of meat 

into a tour de force of utility: 


Now he was going to show me some- 
thing. Skillfully he slit open 
the stomach and turned it inside, 
tripe side, out,, emptying the grass 
in it on the ground, shook it, then 
put the liver and kidneys inside it 
and with the knife cut a switch 
from the tree the buck lay under 
and sewed the stomach together with 
the withe so that the tripe made a 
bag to carry the other delicacies in. 
Then he cut a pole and put- the bag 
en the end of it, running it through 
the flaps, and put it over his 
shoulder. . . .(p. 54) 

Under Droopy ' s tutelaae, the narrator discovers the 
plasticitv of the body. ' Unlike Karl's rhinceros, a shell 
destined for public display upon a wall, the reedbuck at 
Droopy' s touch becomes an object of protean possibility, 
magically transmuting from one state to another as inside 
becomes out, organs become containers, consumer becomes 
nourishment. To an even more emphatic degree than the 
rhinoceros, the reedbuck carries no public or cultural 
significance; its lesson for the narrator is strictly 
personal * 

An intrinsic part of this lesson, the coalescing of 
the arts of hunting and writing, clearly comprises the 
central event of the reedbuck incident. The tool with 
which the narrator must dress the carcass is a penknife 
("Droopy had no skinning knife and I had only a penknife 
to stick him with") . Since this particular artifact was 
first used in the maintainance of quill pens, its double 
function as an instrument of writing and of hunting 


cannot be overlooked. To be legal meat, the body of the buck 
must be stuck immediately (p. 157) . Therefore, the skill 
with which the narrator/hunter presses his knife against the 
heart, his fingers against the body, determines the food 
value of the kill. With like skill must the narrator/artist 
press the pen against the paper, his imagination against 
the matter of his world, to shape the living prose. 

The killing of the reedbuck occasions an immediate exer- 
cise of style as the pupil applies in his narrative the values 
Droopy has championed and he himself has assimilated. 
These values are evidenced nowhere more powerfully than in 
the conversation that brings the reedbuck chapter to an end. 
The nighttime setting parallels in its makeup the one the 
narrator has shared with Droopy during the day: a couple 
(this time the narrator and his wife) , alone (in their tent, 
as the narrator has been in the country with his guide) , 
sharing the conflicts of their lives (in this case the 
jealous rivalries of the Parisian literati) . 

. . . said P.O.M. "We have fun though 
don ! t we? Without all those people." 

"God damn it if we don't. I've had a 
better time every year since I can 

"But isn't Mr. J. P. wonderful? Really?" 

"Yes. He's wonderful." 

"Oh, you're nice to say it. Poor Karl." 



"Without his wife." 

"Yes," I said. "Poor Karl." (p. 66) 
Since the portion of the conversation immediately 
preceding this exchange has divulged how another author 
learned to write conversation by imitating the narrator, 
the quoted lines become a virtuoso display in self-aware 
style. No excess description impedes the functioning 
of the speech; whatever physical and psychological 
action transpires in the scene occurs within the words 
themselves. The narrative does not dwell often upon 
what might be called domestic scenes. In this one of 
the few times it does, it lingers upon the couple alone, 
upon these two who have sloughed off "all those people." 
Having repudiated the Parisian literati, and deserted for 
the evening their fellow travelers, the narrator and P.O.M. 
withdraw from the world of society into the world of marriage 
The physical space of that world is defined by the walls of 
the tent that shelters them in the sleeping camp; the linguis- 
tic space of that world is defined by the pronoun "we." 

In the description of Droopy at the beginning of 
Chapter Three the personal pronoun rendered in language. 
the personal bond between the subject of that description 
and the I/eye who described him. So in the conversation 
between the narrator and his wife at the end of Chapter 
Three, the plural personal pronoun conveys the intimacy 
shared by the two conversers. Both speak in terms of 


"we" as they muse about the life they share, acknowledging 
verbally the union in which they are partners. And union— 
the world of "we"-- is the subject of this passage, stylis- 
tically, psychologically, and sexually. 

Karl, with whom the exchange concludes, has been 
proved poor in many ways. He, like his friend, has had 
the fortune to hunt with "good-looking savages" and the 
chance to learn from them all that phrase entails. But 
Karl learns nothing, failing to communicate even super- 
ficially with his guides. Significantly, Droopy never 
hunts with Bwana Kabor. But Karl is manifestly poorer 
in another way, as the conversation demonstrates. He 
is poor because he lacks his wife, as is agreed upon by 
the two voices we hear issuing into the quiet of the 

"... Poor Karl." 


"Without his wife." 

"Yes," I said. "Poor Karl." 
The sentences are as unencumbered as Droopy without his 
fez, as close to the emotion of the matter as the nar- 
rator/hunter to the reedbuck's heart. Poor Karl with- 
out his wife, says a man with his wife. The unstated, 
implied converse floats up into the African air as surely 
as if it were inscribed upon the page: Poor Karl .... 
Lucky me. 


With these words — spoken and unspoken — the conversation, 
the scene, and the chapter close. No further narration 
follows their utterance, but given the intensifying 
intimacy of the passage, the break in the text points 
toward husband and wife making love. Chaman Nahal has 
pointed out the service of adverbs in implying sexual 
intercourse in The Sun Also Rises . 3 In Green Hills , rather 
than taking the form of an adverbial interruption within 
one line or between two lines as in Nahal * s examples, the 
sexually-suggestive break assumes the shape of the blank 
space upon the page after the conversation. This presenta- 
tion of the sexual union by visual means bears out the 
growing importance of the image within the narrative, 
including that of the text as an image upon the page, as 
the narrative passes from the verbal virtuosity which 
sets the action into the visual one which fulfills it. 

The narrator discusses sex outright a few paqes 
later in Chapter Four (p. 72) and on at least one other 
occasion in the narrative (p. 249) , but the closing scene 
of Chapter Three marks the only instance to hint at his 
active engagement. The appropriateness of such a scene 
to the purposes of the narrative is clear. It is fittinq 
that the Part of the book most concerned with the body 
should include its conjugal celebration, that a chapter 
whose action is sparked by an eye/body relationship (the 
narrator looking at Droopy) should climax in the most 


intimate of such relationships. And, given this generating 
power of the eye, it is even more fitting that this union 
be realized visually: in that space upon the page after 
Chapter Three ends and before Chapter Four begins, it is 
as if the eye closes as the "I" withdraws into the intimacy 
of "we." Only the tent which witnesses first an exchange 
of words between the present wife and the lucky husband 
witnesses then an exchange of hearts and bodies, deep in 
the rich African night. 

Droopy 's Country 

During the period designated as "the time of Droopy," 
the narrator and the safari enter a part of Africa known 
among themselves as "Droopy' s country." A "country" has 
been defined previously by the narrator as "an area, a 
valley or range of hills, a man can hunt in." This 
usage in the hunting vocabulary allows the term to fill 
a larger narrative need in Green Hills . Throughout the 
safari, only one African country in the political sense 
of the word is mentioned, and precious few towns; rather, 
"country" takes on a role as psychic space, as an arena 
of expertise within which a man may act. With this 
emphasis the naturalistic is valued over the political, 
the achievement of man as individual over man in groups : 
"Droopy ! s country" designates that perfect conjunction 
between the demands of a particular terrain and the 
talents of a particular hunter. 


A "canyon [that] ran down to the Rift Valley, seeming 
to narrow at the far end where it cut through the wall of 
the rift," constitutes Droopy 's arena of action. As would 
be expected in the case of the native who has acted as 
a guide to the body, Droopy ' s country abounds in physical 
proliferation, from the lushness of its vegetation ("the 
trees were heavy and tall and the floor of the canyon, 
that from above had been a narrow gash, opened to a forest- 
banked stream") , to the superabundance of game. In their 
search for water buffalo the hunting party are confronted 
at almost every turn with prize rhino specimen, which in 
every case turn out to be cows accompanied bv one, if not 
two, calves. The reproductive activity attested to bv this 
display pervades not only plants and animals in Droopy 's 
country, but men as well. 

Throughout his tutelage to Droopy, the narrator has 
been undergoing a regeneration, of which his sojourn in 
the canyon marks only an intensification. Prior to the 
time of the narrative the American hunter had been ill, 
but now he 

. . . had that pleasant feeling of 
getting stronger every day. I was 
underweight, had a great appetite 
for meat, and could eat all I wanted 
without feeling stuffy. Each day 
I sweated out whatever we drank 
sittina at the fire. . . .(p. 55) 

The regeneration of this American coincides with the 

degeneration of the other American hunter on the safari, 


his friend Karl. As suggested by the image of the moon 
in the rhino hunt, Karl is waning while the narrator 
waxes. One way the theme of physical waxing presents 
itself is in the narrator's "great appetite." The acts 
of eating and drinking afford much pleasure, be the 
nourishment a "lunch of cold sliced tenderloin, bread, 
and mustard, and a can of plums," or the beer that "was 
still cool, from the night and opened by the tin opener 
. . . creamed into three cups, thick-foamed, full-bodied." 
As is borne out by the descriptions of the lunch and beer, 
great care is taken to set forth in detail the concrete 
things of the world, the bounty of the green hills that 
sustains the body. Furthermore, the narrator's appetite 
extends from the sustaining surplus of the world to the 
world itself. Appropriately, a verb of appetite describes 
the narrator's desire for the country in which he finds 
himself: "New, being in Africa, I was hungry for more 
of it." 

What the narrator hungers after, and what Droopy 
teaches him to find, is "now"— through the appetites 
of, the immediate demands of, the now of the body. Karl, 
the narrator's chief alter ego in Part II, is trapped in 
"then"; the compulsion of his intellect to remember a 
life across the Atlantic never permits his senses tc 
experience the "now" of Africa. Revealingly, Karl does 
not enter Droopy' s country, does not enter the world of 


"now." But the narrator does, and upon entry he finds 
in that country a stage of awareness best described by 
Chaman Nahal : 

The key word for understanding the 
Hemingway _ hero , according to my 
reading, is spontaneity. The 
Hemingway hero is a man immensely 
alive to everything, and in his 
spontaneity he has the vital 
capacity to react to life in innu- 
merable and unpredictable ways. 

That is the true Hemingway hero: 
a genuinely spontaneous individual 
: • • . The desire in his heroes 
is to feel everything fully — and 
therefore slowly, egolessly. "He 
did not want to rush his sensations 
any, says Hemingway about Nick in 

Big, Two-Hearted River," and the 
expression is typical. The life 
of the trout, of the mink, and of 
the mosquitoes and the grasshoppers 
that is painted in the story comes 
rushing to Nick because of his ex- 
treme sensitivity to what is going 
on around him. 4 

While Nahal's unqualified extension of this observation 
about Nick Adams to later, more complex protagonists may 
be questioned, its rightness for the narrator at this 

particular phase in h-ia »f- n '„„ ■ 

1 ln niS African journey is unquestionable. 

For the duration of this sensory "now," the life of the 
reedbuck, of the rhino, and of the tse-tse flies and 
the locusts enriches the narrator every bit as much as 
the life of Nick's country enriches him. The narrator 
enters Droopy «s country— and makes it his own. 

Droopy walks into the green hills of Africa- 

safari with the narrator and M'Coia, through the hi 

on a foot 
gh grasses 


of his own country, onward to where the canyon meets the Rift 
Valley— and then simply vanishes from the narrative, never 
to be seen or mentioned again. The intensity and the brevity 
of his walk among the hills suggest that this guide acts as 
a vital, but limited, agent for promoting growth in the nar- 
rator. That Droopy presides over a distinct phase in the 
journey of his pupil is borne out by the great capacities, 
but even greater limitations, of his body, his time, and his 
country. The first limitation is found in the superb body 
whose eyes discern the trails and pinpoint the game. But for 
all their efficiency, these organs look only earthward; they 
do not incorporate lateral vision, the direction associated 
with the fellow guide M'Cola. Droopy . s vision is that of the 
primal interaction of man with earth, not the more complex 
interaction of man with man. The drooping eyelids that beget 
his name act as natural blinders, restricting his field of 
sight to one plane. The resemblance of these lids to 
blinders recalls a similar use of vision and places Droopy 
in the sequence of the safari; the narrator follows the path 
blazed by Droopy before he rises from the blind. 

Just as Droopy ! s body suffices only so far, so does 
his utilization of the products of civilization. "The time 
of Droopy" acquires added significance when one considers 
the. place of this guide among the company of westward 
wanderer/wonder ers on the road. Droopy most closely 
resembles the more primitive of the peoples, the nomadic 


hunters, as opposed to the more advanced family units with 
which his cohort M'Cola is associated. in addition to 
cultural advances signified by the societal groupings, the 
guide's relationship to time is disclosed also by his deploy- 
ment of artifacts. Droopy wears the cruder knotted tunic, 
in contrast to M' Cola's buttoned jacket. The inexperience 
also plagues his knowledge of weapons. The African hunter 
may wield handily the ever-present spear, but in the pivotal 
confrontation with M'Cola after the buffalo kill, the 
intricacies of a double-barrelled shotgun elude him. 

I told Droopy he could keep my big gun. 
He said he knew how to shoot so I took 
the shells and put on the safety and 
handing it to him told him to shoot. 
He put it to his shoulder, shut the 
wrong eye, and pulled hard on the 
trigger, and again, and again. Then I 
showed him about the safety and had 
him put it on and off and snap the gun 
a couple of times. M'Cola became very 
superior during Droopy • s struggle to 
fire with the safety on and Droopy 
seemed to get much smaller. (pp. 120-21} 

This reversal in Droopy *a role from a leader "in command 

of the show" to one in need of instruction marks a major 

shift in the narrative. For all his gifts, Droopy cannot 

take the narrator into the twentieth century, into the present 

time of the novel (the Part recounting his story, "Pursuit 

Remembered," is a flashback). The boundaries of his talents 

are presented in terms of vision: unable to coordinate his 

eyes, he cannot fire the gun. And the narrator perceives 


these boundaries optically: M'Cola gains in stature as 
"Droopy seemed to get much smaller." This change in 
physical perspective reflects a change in imaginative 
perspective. Having absorbed all Droopy can teach him, 
the narrator now looks to the guide who will loom large 
in his next steps upon the road. 

That road leads from Droopy' s country to the rock 
wall of Africa's Rift Valley. The narrator returns to 
the road after having been thwarted from entering the 
heart of the guide's country by a tangle of reeds that 
defies the hunting party and forces Droopy to call off the 
hunt ("We both felt good because we had made Droopy do 
the calling-off and I was relieved as well"). Soon after, 
a fine buffalo bull breaks from the thicket and the nar- 
rator bags him. Back in camp after the kill, planning the 
next stretch of the safari, the narrator and Pop question 
Droopy about the country just beyond his. "'We'll ask 
Droopy how the valley is.' Droopy didn't know. ..." 
(p. 22). The layout of the land captures the crux of 
the matter. Beyond the periphery of his vision, beyond 
the borders of his canyon— the Rift Valley is out of 
Droopy -s country. During the time the guide and his 
pupil walk together on the road, Droopy takes the narrator 
forward. He gives freely of his special gifts, preparing 
the narrator for the future (the reedbuck, an antelope, 
foreshadows the more prized kudu, also an antelope) . 


Then, his task complete, Droopy walks to the end of his 
country, and out of the narrator's story. 

After following Droopy to the end of his country, 
the narrator then proceeds beyond that country toward his 
rendezvous with Karl at the Rift Valley. Of all the 
lesser topographical features that contribute to the overall 
"shape of a country," none occupies the African landscape 
more imposingly than that gigantic cleft. The sentence 
which introduces Karl into Part II designates the Rift 
Valley as his destination, and after taking his "dream 
rhino." Karl too directs his path that way. The name of 
the valley captures the mood of the safari at this point; 
Part II xs rife with dissension. Bitter words pass between 
the narrator and P.O.M. during (pp. 94-5) and after (p. 120) 
the buffalo hunt, and bickerina preoccupies Karl and the 
narrator on the plain in a hunt where the ouarrv seems 
more each other than the intended zebra. The personal 
sniping demonstrates on a small scale the fiercer competi- 
tion between the two bier game hunters. The nature of 
the first animal taken in the search for such game, the 
rhinoceros, has established their conflict as a territo- 
rial one. in Chapter Six that territorial struggle 
assumes monumental proportions: when the paths of the 
two do cross, it is in terrain that suggests tensions 
violent enought to split a continent asunder. 


The moon that has shown over the African landscape 
in Part II, illuminating the simultaneous processes of 
waxing and waning, regeneration and degeneration, now 
shines over the Rift Valley. And like that globe, the 
valley too contains within itself the flux of life and 
death, The Rift Valley reproduces on a panoramic scale 
the womb/tomb archetype of the blind. Displaying the 
bifurcation of the "hollow half full of ashes and dust," 
one of its halves holds the dust of the plain, the other 
the waters of Lake Manyara. The world of the plain and 
the world of the lake constitute distinct entities, 
distinguished from one another most strikingly by their 
wildlife. On the plain the black and white zebra "gallop 
in the grey heat haze, raising a dust," while at the lake 
"the unbelievable cloud" of rose-pink flamingoes rises and 
settles at the sound of shots, as if attuned to a heart- 
beat ( p . 133) . 

As they possess different topography and wildlife, 
so the plain and the lake claim a different protagonist. 
With "caked dust on his face," the plain marks Karl as 
its own. From the moment he steps into Part II, Karl's 
path has lead him to this place. Karl circumvents Droopy • s 
country, spurns the lessons of the senses. And in revenge 
his body, deprived of nourishment, takes on the hue of 
the plain: "eld Karl looked a grayish, yellow white in 
the face . . . coming in like a death's head." The half 


of the Rift Valley Karl inherits is the ashes and dust— 
the tomb. The hunter experiencing this inner deterioration 
soon finds a memento mori among the hunted. The last night 
in Part II, Karl brings in 

a very strange and unfortunate kudu. 
Only the skin running from the eyes 
down to the nostrils, smooth gray 
and delicately marked with white, 
and the big, graceful ears were 
beautiful. The eyes were already 
dusty and there were flies around 
them and the horns were heavy, 
coarse, and instead of spirallina 
high they made a heavy turn and 
slanted straight out. It was a 
freak head, heavy and ugly. (p. 173) 

The tremendous wrenchinq necessary to the formation 

of the Rift Valley hints at the magnitude of the narrator's 

split with his friend and alter ego. The rift heralds 

a realignment at the core of the narrator, as the intellect 

tualism espoused by Karl is rejected. The part of the 

narrator most like Karl wanes along with that hunter. 

For the first time on the safari, the narrator is suddenly 

addressed as "Old Timer," "the old man," and "Old Hem" — 

all on the evening before and the evening of Karl ' s 

capture of the misshapen kudu head. But as the head dies, 

so the body is born. Having travelled through Droopy ' s 

country and absorbed the lessons there, the narrator is 

open to the revitalizing powers of Lake Manyara. His 

stalking through the hummocks and canals while birdshooting 

is climaxed by an abrupt, fall into the lake: "you slip 


and go face down and are sitting, enjoying being completely 
wet finally, water cool on your behind, soaked with muddy 
water, . . . M'Cola delighted with the spill" (p. 133). 
Bathed in its amniotic fluids, for the narrator the Rift 
Valley proves a womb. 

Part II, "Pursuit Remembered," is as gigantic a chasm 
in the chronology of Green Hills of Africa as the Rift 
Valley is in the African landmass. Longer than all the 
other Parts put together (seven chapters, as opposed to 
two each in the other three Parts) , "Pursuit Remembered" 
is a flashback, a drop out of the present time between 
Chapters Two and Ten. In fact, in the convoluted structure 
of the narrative, Part II speeds toward the moment when 
Part I begins. The use of the flashback, the mention of 
memory in the Part's title, and the emphatic repetition of 
the adverb "now" in the text suggest that, among all its 
other themes, Part II concerns itself intensely with two 
men and how they deal with time. The first of these is the 
narrator's companion. Encased in the mental revolutions 
of his memories, Karl cannot open his senses to the "now" 
that Droopy feels. For this man the present entails the 
loss of everything he has so carefully deposited behind 
in "then." But not only the present, the future too 
entails loss: still basking in the conquest of the 
incredible "dream rhino," Karl's only thought on the 


safari's first day in the Rift Valley is that the following 
day "he was facing possible defeat by oryx." In the world 
of movement the narrator is learning to negotiate, Karl 
wants everything to stand still, to be as changeless as 
his past. Hence he values the end, not the process — the 
trophy, not the hunt. 

In contrast, the guide Droopy flows with the wholeness 
of one moment to the wholeness of the next, from one "now" 
to another "now." This immersion of himself in the fullness 
of the present renders Droopy a truly gifted lover of life. 
But as it frees him to the immediate in life, it also 
imprisons him in it. For instance, when the narrator tries 
to leave the unwieldy reedbuck carcass to be picked up by 
porters later , Droopy simply cannot fathom his intent and 
insists on carrying the animal to camp then . Although 
unfettered by Karl's past, Droopy cannot project ahead; 
his present has no future. This inability to look beyond 
the immediate consigns Droopy to the vicissitudes of a 
physical life, unaided by mental disciplines such as 
foresight. The sentence portraying the last act of the 
guide in the narrative frames his deficiency as an 
intellectual one: the one-timer tutor can tell his pupil 
nothing about the country beyond his because "Droopy 
didn' t know. " 

Having had the luck to sojourn in Droopy ' s country, 
the narrator has acquired the guide's gift for "spontaneity." 


Following in the African's steps has led to health; the 
hunter waxes in body at Droopy 's hands. But to overcome 
the limitations of the guide, the narrator must be able 
to advance into the future. This he will accomplish by 
developing the ability to "know." This next stage in his 
growth demands a different kind of mind than heretofore 
encountered and requires a different guide — M'Cola. So, 
having survived the chasm of the Rift Valley, the chasm 
of Part II, the narrator readies himself to crouch in 
the blind, about to be born into the lessons of the road. 


Notes to Part Ii 

''"The reproductive capacity of the safari animals also 
reflects the strength or weakness of the generative impulse _ 
in each: rhinoceros cows and calves ("Manamouki! Manamoukii") 

2 Hemingway was born in 18 99; he went on safari 1933-4. 

3 Chaman Nahal, The Narrative Pattern in Ernest Heming - 
w ay's Fiction (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University 
Press, 1971) , pp. 43-44: 

"We are now in chapter 7 . Jake is 
going up the stairs and the concierge 
tells him that the lady of the previous 
night, Brett that is, has been in to 
see him and will call again. Soon 
afterwards Brett arrives, this time 
escorted by Count Mippipopolous in 
person. Jake has had a shower and 
leaves the Count and Brett, to go 
into his bedroom to dress. He is 
feeling 'tired and pretty rotten' when 
Brett joins him in the bedroom. 

'What's the matter, darling? Do you 
feel rocky? ' 

She kissed me coolly on the forehead. 

'Oh, Brett, I love you so much. ' 

'Darling,' she said. Then: 'Do you 
want me to send him away? ' 

She is of course speaking of Count 
Mippipopolous, but what is the mean- 
ing of the 'Then' here? What does it 
denote a break with or a break away 
from? What does Jake want? What is 
it that he cannot receive or accom- 
plish in the presence of Count 
Mippipopolous? . . . 

She goes to the next room and sends 
the Count away. 

She was gone out of the room. I lay 
face down on the bed. I was having 
a bad time. I heard them talking but 
I did not listen. Brett came in and 
sat on the bed. 


'Poor old darling. ' She stroked my 

'What did you say to him? ' I was 
lying with my face away from her. I 
did not want to see her. 

'Sent him for champagne. He loves to 
go for champagne. ' 

Then later: 'Do you feel better, dar- 
ling? Is the head any better? 1 

'It' s better. ' 

'Lie quiet. He's gone to the other 
side of town. ' 

Again the mysterious interpolation 'Then 
later. ' What does it signify? What has 
happened meanwhile? Why is Jake's head 
suddenly 'better' now? Hemingway has 
preferred to leave this part of the narra- 
tion an enigma, for perhaps he was not 
quite sure in his mind whether to give 
expression to what he wanted to convey 
or not. Alternatively, he may not have 
been sure in advance of the limit to 
which Jake's privation would take him. 
But it seems certain that during this 
scene Jake receives and Brett gives him 
a perverted sexual satisfaction. Such 
satisfaction has been the subject of 
literature earlier. But the solicitude 
with which Hemingway presents the theme, 
and also how he projects it more as a 
necessity of the moment or the circum- 
stances in question than as a variation 
willfully contrived, speak of his crafts- 

... In the stillness of the moment, both 
Jake and Brett see the uncommon and the 
unthinkable as their present demand — a 
demand which comes with an insistence 
and compels obedience. The simple adverb 
'then,' repeated a little later as 'then 
later,' shows the fulfillment of that urge, 
while the forward action of the novel is 
at a standstill." 

4 Chaman Nahal, The N arrative Pattern in Ernest Heming - 
wa y's Fiction (Rutherford: Fairieigh Dickinson University 
Press, 1971), p. 85. 


The Guide M'Cola 

As the narrator waits at the side of the road in the 
first scene of Green Hills of Africa , another figure also 
crouches with him in the roadside blind. That figure, the 
guide M'Cola, has come to the fore in the pivotal shift of 
perspective from the sensory to the intellectual in the 
flashback of Part II. This shift is signaled by the chang- 
ing prominence of the native guides: when the more elemental 
Droopy leads the safari to the border of his country and can 
then go no farther, the more knowledgeable M'Cola emerges as 
the dominant African. M'Cola' s importance is indicated by 
the position of prominence he holds at the narrator's side, 
first in the roadside blind and then when the narrative 
returns to the present time of Part III. The narrative shift 
in emphasis, and the consequent rise of M'Cola, bears direct- 
ly upon the American hunters on the safari. As previously 
discussed, the blind the narrator and M'Cola occupy in Part 
I and the one Karl shoots from in Part II function as arche- 
typal womb/tombs. Karl's hunt should rightfully climax his 
search for kudu, but instead the blind that cradles him 
labors and brings forth only the freak kudu head. The 



influence of Karl, the mind revolving , dies in the dust of 
of the plain. His blind proves a tomb. M'Cola, on the 
other hand, partakes of the waters of Lake Manyara along 
with the narrator and so survives to be one of the "we" 
who gestate in the roadside blind. The image of the mind 
that emerges in the figure of this guide presents an alter- 
native to the alienation rampant in Karl. 

The progression from sensory development at the hands 
of Droopy to mental development under the auspices of M'Cola 
is presented as part of the narrator's process of maturation, 
The ages of the respective guides correspond to the sequence 
of the stages; the narrator learns the lessons of the body 
from the younger Droopy, the lessons of the mind from the 
older M'Cola. Their individual chronologies parallel the 
panoramic chronology of the road image; Droopy walks the 
length of his country barefoot, while M'Cola, more versed 
in artifacts, goes shod. The narrator's maturation is also 
framed in terms of vision. Prior to being born from the 
blind, the narrator is taught by Droopy, gifted with dis- 
cerning, but earthbound, eyes. Droopy 's successor, M'Cola, 
raises his eyes to the level of human interaction, to the 
larger scope of the world. When the narrator wakes to the 
world outside the blind, he is born with M'Cola at his side, 
the direct beneficiary of that guide's special vision, 

M'Cola' s unique appearance bears out his role as a 
model of the mind. In the descriptive passages that begin 


Part II the narrator carefully eyes first the handsome 

Droopy and then M'Cola, remarking of the latter: 

I remember how surprised I was the 
first time I saw . . . how old the 
upper body was. It had that aged 
look you see in photographs of 
Jeffries and Sharkey posing thirty 
years after, the ugly, old-man 
biceps and the fallen pectoral 
muscles. (p. 48) 

The deterioration of M'Cola' s body, especially in contrast 

with Droopy ' s, focuses attention instead upon his head: 

M'Cola shook his head. I looked at 
his bald skull and he turned his face 
a little so that I saw the thin Chinese 
hairs at the corners of his mouth, 
(p. 3) 

The narrator's act of looking at M'Cola constitutes one of 
his very first acts in the narrative; from the beginning, 
this head is central to his concerns. Its significance is 
also validated by the primal image of the womb. The narra- 
tor turns to examine the head while he and his guide crouch 
inside the blind; as the pair abandon the blind to walk 
upright upon the road, a new mind is born. 

Clues to the kind of mind active in M'Cola lie in the 
traits of his extraordinary head. The baldness that accen- 
tuates the contours of the skull, the facial hair that is 
identified in precise ethnic terms — M'Cola presents to the 
world the image of a buddha. And he maintains, along with 
the appearance, the attitude of a buddha as well. Through- 
out the twists and rurns of the safari, the "black Chinaman" 
looks on — as quarries are lost or taken, friendships flourish 


or wither, other guides come and go. Through Droopy 's 
country, in the Rift Valley, and all along the road, the 
life of Africa plays out before his all-encompassing gaze. 

M' Cola's premier response to this panorama appears 
first in the blind when an accompanying native scrawls his 
name. The narrator reports that "M'Cola looked at the word 
without a shadow of expression on his face." This reaction 
of expressionlessness is the one detail in addition to the 
description of M'Cola' s face that the narrator notes in the 
blind and its presence is crucial to an understanding of 
this mind. The face with which M'Cola beholds the world is 
expressionless — without ego. The native lives no life out- 
side the safari. In the only reference to an existence of 
his own, Pop remarks that M'Cola has "a grown-up family in 
the native reserve." The white hunter's choice of words 
discloses the situation concisely: M'Cola has placed his 
emotions as he has his family — in reserve. Unfettered by 
external demands, neither is M'Cola prey to internal ones. 
The vanity of the lesser guide, whose scrawling could prove 
deleterious to the hunting party's shooting, leaves M'Cola 
decidedly unmoved. This guide brings to the safari a view- 
point unobscured by personal emotions or preconceived 
reactions. Rather, he comes almost as a tabula rasa, open 
to whatever impressions the world might momentarily etch 
upon him. The bald, bewhiskered buddha exhibits a counte- 
nance freed of its own self so that it may more clearly 


perceive the phenomena passing before it. With unfurrowed 
brow and unrestricted vision, M'Cola is the consummate 

One response the world elicits from the guide occurs 
in an incident recounted early in the narrative. The narra- 
tor recalls shooting guineas while M'Cola looks on. 

He laughed always to see the birds 
tumble and when I missed he roared 
and shook his head again and again. 

"Ask him what the hell he's laughing 
about?" I asked Pop once. 

"At B'wana," M'Cola said, and shook 
his head, "at the little birds. ..." 

So bird shooting became this marvelous 
joke. If i killed, the joke was on 
the birds and M'Cola would shake his 
head and laugh and make his hands go 
round and round to show how the bird 
turned over in the air. And if I 
missed, I was the clown of the piece 
and he would look at me and shake with 
laughing. (pp. 36-7) 

The paradigm of the birds clarifies M'Cola' s point of view. 
The birds can tumble down in death or fly away in life; it 
is all the same to him. In the struggle for survival that 
unfolds before him, the African buddha views both life and 
death with equanimity, as the necessary and equal poles be- 
tween which run the energies of the universe. This guide 
sees all, and rejects nothing. The quality of mind inherent 
m M'Cola is one unqualifiedly accepting of and profoundly 
appreciativ e of the world. 

This accepting, appreciative point of view allows M'Cola 
to respond to the hunt scenario with pure, unadulterated 


"delight." The word twice characterizes his response to 
the narrator's battle with the birds, once in this passage 
(p. 36) and again during the bird hunt at Lake Manyara 
(p. 133) . The nature of the laughter that shakes the black 
head confirms his disinterest. M'Coia laughs simultaneous- 
ly "at B'wana" and "at the little birds." The "piece" 
therefore boasts no heroes and no villains, only partici- 
pants, and all potential sources of delight. In fact, the 
only theatrical role designated is that of "clown." The 
narrator's antics at Lake Manyara earn him this part; when 
he executes a pratfall into the lake in the manner of low 
comedy, "M'Coia [is] delighted with this spill." 

The terms in which the narrator chooses to describe 
the bird passages place M' Cola's role as observer within 
the highly structured context of the theater. In that con- 
text the world exists as spectacle and M'Coia as an extreme- 
ly able audience. Important ramifications follow from the 
attitude the guide displays toward that spectacle. In his 
vision entrances and exits interweave in a shifting, but 
compensatory, whole. Hence death is no tragedy. The birds 
may tumble down or they may fly away; the play goes on. 
M'Coia in no sense inhabits a tragic world. The sense of 
loss, of depletion that pervades Karl's world does not enter 
into the vision of this guide. Tears do not mar the black 
face. Instead, the "piece" M'Coia observes would be classi- 
fied a comedy. This genre inherently promotes M'Coia' s 


world view as an alternative to Karl's dour pessimism. 
First, the broad humor of low comedy is no respecter of 
persons; the genre does not lend itself as a vehicle for 
the preservation of a public ego. Karl, rigid with anxiety, 
hardly exhibits the resilience necessary to a clown. Sec- 
ondly, the physicality of the form insures contact with the 
earth. Instead of the self -cannibalism of a mind revolving, 
here the mind is turned outward, constantly attuned to its 
surroundings. In order to comprehend the fullness of 
M' Cola's vision, one may simply broaden the definition of 
comedy from its more specialized classification as a thea- 
trical genre to its larger definition as the optimistic 
element of life in general. In the end, this sweeping 
earthly vista is the spectacle that enthralls M'Cola the 
observer. Forsaking tears, the black head beholds the 
world . . . with blankness at the things of ego, or with that 
shake of approval at the wonder of things as they are. 

M ' Cola ' s Country 

From the very start of its travels in Africa, the even- 
tual and inevitable onslaught of the continent's rainy 
season has threatened the safari: "You could feel the rains 
coming, as they moved steadily north, as surely as though 
you watched them on a chart." The advance of the rains 
spells a countdown for the travelers who must conclude their 
hunting and leave before the storms render the roads to the 


coast impassable. The present time of Green Hills of 
Africa deals with the last four planned days of the hunt. 
Part I covers the evening of the first day when Kandisky's 
lorry disrupts the blind and the morning of the second day 
when the narrator shoots guineas; Part II flashes back in 
seven chapters to the preceding events of Droopy 's country 
and the Rift Valley; and then Part III returns to the pres- 
ent, to the afternoon of the second day that began in Part 
I. It is on this afternoon that the rains arrive at last. 
As the narrator and M'Cola head out in the car after lunch 
to the saltlick, their coming difficulties are presaged by 
puddles on the road from the previous night. Before long, 
the skies shower "drizzlingly. " The following morning (the 
third and next-to-the-last day) opens with a "mist [hanging] 
over the ground" which soon becomes "light rain pattering 
in the leaves." This patter condenses first into "fairly 
hard," then unmitigatedly "hard" rain, until the narrator 
and his party stalk a world utterly saturated with moisture: 

Puffs of cloud hung on the hillside 
after the rain and the trees dripped 
but we saw nothing. Not in the open 
glades, not in the fields where the 
bush thinned, not on the green hill- 
sides, (p. 189) 

The farther the narrator endeavors to penetrate this stretch 

of road, the denser grows the rain, until the safari is 

forced to an absolute standstill in Chapter Ten. 

M' Cola's presence pervades the four-day stretch of road 

from the blind of Chapter One to the stasis of Chapter Ten. 


In the canyon, Droopy introduced the narrator to the pro- 
tean possibilities that reside within physical forms; along 
the length of road, M'Cola introduces him to the challenge 
of things beyond human manipulation. This length — M' Cola's 
country — is the country of rain. The change of seasons 
ranks as just as significant a terrestrial event as does 
the Rift Valley, commanding a place in the scale of the 
African landscape beyond the individual configuration of a 
road, beyond a self-contained pocket of terrain. When 
depicted on the vast continental sweep of Chapter Ten, rain 
epitomizes the impersonal universe, nature beyond the human 

From the seminal image in which he appears, M 1 Cola's 
relationship to the natural world has been hallmarked by 
acceptance and compliance. In the roadside blind, he and 
the narrator accommodate themselves to the curves of the 
dirt hollow; unlike the cruciate guide, they do not stride 
above it like a colossus. Indeed, the hunter and the gun- 
bearer literally efface themselves as they crouch in the 
cover of the blind. The overall process of hunting provides 
the narrator an avenue to purge himself of the ego that de- 
mands a display like the one in which the Christ-like guide 
indulges. That opening image of the blind clearly sets 
unbridled ego at odds with survival — the native's rash words 
and movements would scare away every animal within shooting 
range. As practiced by the master M'Cola, hunting becomes 


the suspension of ego. The narrator as novice must submit 
to others more knowledgeable, bend to the demands of land 
and weather, school the self in the inclinations of game, 
and control momentary personal desires that would interfere 
in the larger task at hand. 

When the narrative resumes in Chapter Ten, it is after 
the seven intervening chapters of Part II: 

That all seemed a year ago. Now, this 
afternoon in the car, on the way out to 
the . . . saltlick, . . . just having 
shot the guinea fowl, . . . losing a 
shot the night before on this lick 
because of the Austrian's truck, I knew 
there were only two days more to hunt 
before we must leave. (p. 176) 

The opening sentences of Chapter Ten immediately recapture 

the "now, this afternoon" of the second day. The inaugural 

landscape of Green Hills reassembles itself: the road, the 

narrator in movement on it, the gunbearer M'Cola along, their 

destination the blind. But almost as soon as they set out, 

it becomes apparent that this afternoon the hunting party 

traverses a quite different terrain: 

Where the sand was thin over the clay 
there was a pool of water and you could 
see that a heavy rain had drenched it 
all on ahead. I did not realize what 
this meant but Garrick threw his arms 
wide, looked up to the sky and bared 
his teeth in anger. 

"It's no good," M'Cola whispered, 
(pp. 178-9) 

The "Garrick" who throws his arms wide and grimaces at the 

sky is the same guide who rose Christ-like over the blind 


the day before. His identity, the cruciate stance he assumes 
again, and M' Cola's recurring disapproval recreate his part 
in the opening tableau. But the scene of the roadside blind 
is not to be completely duplicated, for a new factor has 
entered the landscape; in the night the rains have come. 
The introduction of the rains alters the chemistry of the 
scene, beginning by negating the narrator's second occupa- 
tion of the blind. The rains have decimated the saltlick, 
thereby destroying the hollow's utility ("We settled down 
in the blind and waited there until it was dark and a light 
rain began to fall. Nothing came to the salt" [pp. 180-1]). 
The inaugural tableau therefore lacks the very component 
most central to its functioning, the womb archetype. But 
as the rains sweep from their path one manifestation of this 
generative image, so they also create another. 

Drenching rain arrests the hunting party in mid-journey, 
as the afternoon that began with puddles ends in a nightly 
downpour. Despite his pressing awareness of ever- shortening 
time, the narrator is forced to make camp on the road. An 
event beyond human intention or manipulation, the rain physi- 
cally forces the narrator into a moment of contemplation. 
In the night of rain he must reckon with this newly-evident 
power of the earth, must determine his relationship to a 
landscape that cannot be transcended. The cascading waters 
occasion a provisional tent to be devised for the narrator: 

Kamau had rigged a tent out of a big 
canvas ground cloth, hung my mosquito 
net inside, and set up the canvas cot. 
M'Cola brought the food inside the 
shelter tent. (p. 181) 


Suddenly in the country of rain there is a refuge, affording 
warmth and nourishment: 

I undressed, got into mosquito boots 
and heavy pyjamas and sat on the cot, 
ate a breast of roast guinea hen and 
drank a couple of tin cups of half 
whiskey and water. (p. 181) 

This new form that arises abruptly from the drowned road- 
side fulfills the missing element of the inaugural land- 
scape. The waters have obliterated the "hollow half full of 
ashes and dust" ; in the form of the tent they have caused 
to be created a womb of canvas. 

The newly-realized enclosure provides the space for the 
events that transpire that night. Preparing to sleep in the 
tent, the narrator directs M'Cola: 

"You sleep here. Out of the rain," I 
pointed to the canvas where the rain 
was making the finest sound that we, 
who live much outside of houses, ever 
hear. It was a lovely sound, even 
though it was bitching us. 

... I woke when I heard M'Cola come 
in, make his bed and go to sleep, and 
I woke once in the night and heard him 
sleeping by me. . . . (p. 182) 

The first night of the present time in Green Hills of Africa , 
M'Cola takes the narrator into his world. Master and novice 
mold themselves to the contours of the roadside blind, accom- 
panied by the two cumbersome natives. The second night 
reprises the physical proximity of narrator and guide as 
they sat side-by-side. But the night in the tent also marks 
a more profound closeness; this time it is the narrator who 


brings M'Cola — alone — out from the rain, into shelter. The 
evening the American hunter and the African gunbearer spend 
together within the confines of the makeshift tent climaxes 
the intimacy that has grown between tha two men since Droopy ! s 
country. When the narrator takes M'Cola to be his tent com- 
panion, the novice is asking the master to come in . Physi- 
cally and intellectually, the effect of the narrator's 
invitation to the tent is to internalize the vision of M'Cola. 

Proof of this internalization comes quickly. Before 
this night, the American hunter has held only one perspec- 
tive on rain: "I had thought of the rain only as something 
that made tracking easy." The worth of the terrestrial 
phenomenon was predicated entirely upon its value to the 
hunter's own immediate purposes. But now, even though that 
same phenomenon hinders the safari's efforts at its most 
crucial time ("it was bitching us"), the narrator is yet 
able to acknowledge "it was a lovely sound." With that ad- 
mission, he has acquired a perspective beyond the self; he 
has incorporated the accepting and, even more importantly, 
the appreciative viewpoint of M'Cola. As it falls before 
the wise visage of the black buddha, rain is neither good 
nor bad, it simply is_; and its very participation in the 
spectacle of the world confers a fineness and a loveliness 
upon it, 

A small detail of the tent scene confirms the complete- 
ness of the internalization. When the narrator sleeps, 


M'Cola rests beside him; but when he wakes, he lies alone 
under the canvas. 

I woke when I heard M'Cola come in, 
make his bed and go to sleep, and I 
woke once in the night and heard him 
sleeping by me; but in the morning 
he was up and had made the tea before 
I was awake. (p. 182) 

M'Cola, the guide to the hunt, busies himself as he does 

every day with the usual duties of the safari. But M'Cola, 

the guide to a mind unfettered by Karl's shortsightedness, 

having performed his most valuable duty, has been absorbed 

into a more able agent of life. When the novice rises 

alone from the night of rain, the view from the blind has 

become the view from the tent. With M' Cola's help, the 

narrator has learned to move not against, but with, the 

mighty rhythms of the African continent. 

Beyond M'Cola 

The transition in guides from Droopy to M'Cola is pre- 
sented in Green Hills of Africa as part of a maturation 
process the narrator is caught up in, a transition from a 
sensual bonding with the world to an intellectual comprehen- 
sion of it. When the narrator follows the path through 
Droopy' s country, he walks behind a more idealized figure, 
a guide at the apex of his skills. At that earlier stage 
the American hunter depends much more heavily upon the Afri- 
can guide — for basic negotiation of territory, for elemen- 
tary procurement of meat. What Droopy introduces his pupil 


to— through the viscera of the reedbuck, the labyrinth of 
the canyon — is the body of the world, the absolute physi- 
cality of Africa. Droopy' s body lives at one with the 
world's body; and the narrator recognizes and emulates this 

But this phase of awareness serves the narrator only 
so far. Equating "self" with his surroundings, Droopy is 
absorbed by the world; he knows no bounds but physical ones. 
This guide lives entirely unaware of his own limitations as 
a human being until brought up short by the edge of the 
Rift Valley, by the material presence of a rock wall! In 
the end Droopy proves an indispensable, but circumscribed, 
proponent of the narrator's growth. He experiences no 
"other;" he does not know . In contrast to Droopy, the suc- 
ceeding guide does, above all else, know. M' Cola's ability 
to mentally distinguish "self" from "other" is underscored 
by the extreme example the world assumes as "other" in his 
country: the deluge. The younger guide may merge into his 
canyon, but the life-threatening rains insure the older 
guide's preeminent awareness of difference. This awareness 
of difference, this ability to discern "self" from "other" 
most characterizes the guide. It manifests itself most 
strikingly in the attitude M'Cola takes as spectator, with 
the "other" (the world) as the play and the "self" (the 
native) as audience. 


Unlike the oblivious Droopy, M'Cola 1 s vision embraces 
both capacities and limitations, and rejects neither. The 
acceptance he exercises while witnessing the safari's wan- 
derings extends to himself; M'Cola knows his own gifts and 
failures. At the start of the rhinoceros hunt in Chapter 
Three, the narrator notes: "M'Cola was not jealous of 
Droopy. He simply knew that Droopy was . . . more of a 
hunter, a faster and cleaner tracker." M'Cola also imparts 
the potential of self-knowledge to the narrator. His 
presence provides an antidote to the American hunter ' s com- 
petitiveness since he has witnessed the narrator's most 
humiliating mistakes: 

I sat there, using the sling, and shot 
for [the Grant's] neck, slowly and 
carefully, missing him eight times 
straight in a mounting, stubborn rage, 
not making a correction but shooting 
for the same place in the same way 
each time. ... I reached up my hand 
to M'Cola for more cartridges, shot 
again, carefully, and missed, and on 
the tenth shot broke his damned neck. 
I turned away without looking toward 
him. (p. 82) 

It is the knowledge of one's own finite capabilities that 

provides a hedge against the ego that devours Karl. 

It is precisely the shortcomings of M'Cola that signal 

a more mature and healthy phase in the narrator's growth. 

The influence of the figure of the African guide upon the 

safari lessens in importance as the American hunter learns 

to function mere competently on his own. The narrator 

operates much more independently of the guide to the 


intellectual phase, M'Cola, than he ever did of the sensory 
Droopy. This independence — a realization on the narrator's 
part of the widening separation between his emerging "self" 
and the major "other" in his life at this point, M' Cola- 
is brought home in several ways. The narrator differs more 
distinctly from M'Cola, in age and physique, for example, 
whereas he was likened more to Droopy. And he is much more 
able to criticize the elder native. Unlike Droopy, M'Cola 
possesses foibles as well as wisdom. He commits major 
errors out on the hunt, the gravest when he fails to prevent 
P.O.M. from venturing into high grasses that might shield 
a wounded buffalo (p. 116) . But even this error in the 
field pales against the repercussions that stem from one 
particular oversight the guide makes in camp. 

The narrator ' s hunting party wake from the night in the 
tent to the morning of the third, penultimate, day of their 
enterprise. They return to camp and attempt another stalk 
through the moist environs, but meet with no success: 

Finally it was dark and we went back 
to camp. The Springfield was very 
wet when we got out of the car and I 
told M'Cola to clean it carefully and 
oil it well. He said he would. . . . 
(pp. 189-90) 

Chapter Eleven, the concluding chapter of Part III, then 

chronicles the fourth and last planned day of the safari, 

each of its precious minutes ticked off by the encroaching 

rains. The hunting party make their first effort from a 


blind, where the narrator has occasion to glance at his 

Putting the Springfield across my 
knees I noticed that there was rust 
on the barrel. Slowly I pulled it 
along and looked at the muzzle. It 
was freshly brown with rust. 

"The bastard never cleaned it last 
night after that rain," I thought. . . . 

M'Cola had seen the rusty bore. His 
face had not changed and I had said 
nothing but I was full of contempt 
and there had been indictment, evi- 
dence, and condemnation without a 
word being spoken. So we sat there, 
he with his head bent so only the 
bald top showed, me leaning back and- 
looking out through the slit, and we 
were no longer partners, no longer 
good friends; and nothing came to the 
salt. (pp. 203-4) 

That a safari and a friendship should, for all purposes, 
end upon the ignominious sight of M'Cola bowing his head 
against the narrator's anger rises from the significant cir- 
cumstances that comprise M'Cola' s neglect of the gun. Such 
neglect constitutes the most serious breach in the guide's 
duties on the safari, for M' Cola's chief function has been 
gunbearer to the narrator. After the buffalo hunt in 
Droopy' s country (p. 120-1), it was M'Cola' s familiarity with 
this twentieth century artifact, juxtaposed against Droopy' s 
unfamiliarity, that indicated the ascendency of the older 
guide over the younger one. The repetition of a pivotal 
situation involving skill with a weapon again signals a 
shift in the narrative, but this time away from M'Cola. The 


schism that divides narrator and guide gains added import 
when one realizes that its apparent cause, the rust along 
the muzzle of the rifle, in fact results from the identical 
phenomenon that brought the two men together. The rain that 
enfolds the narrator and his guide in the union of the tent 
also corrodes, not only the metal of the gun, but the matter 
of their friendship as well. 

A lapse in duty, then, discloses the limits of M' Cola's 
sufficiency. The nature of the guide's error emanates not 
from commission, but omission . This pattern of lack at 
certain crucial points in the safari has characterized the 
succession of guides: Droopy senses, but does not know; 
M'Cola knows, but does not act . The night of rain which 
promotes the rust marks a true union as the narrator incor- 
porates the vision of his master. But the union occurs in 
circumstances not conducive to further advancement of the 
narrator's growth. The story of that growth has always 
been visualized in terms of movement, in the imagery of the 
road. Yet the closest moment between M'Cola and the narra- 
tor transpires in stasis, with the truck forced to a stand- 
still and its passengers imprisoned by the rain. The topo- 
graphical imagery of Part III makes clear the bankruptcy of 
M'Cola' s vision: Chapter Ten begins in medlas res , with the 
narrator in movement upon the road; but Chapter Eleven, 
chronicling the last day of the safari and the uncovering 


of the guide's mistake, finds the entire enterprise stalled 
upon the road. 

M' Cola's vision has brought the expedition to this 
impasse, with the narrator, like the guide, just looking at 
the world, not acting in it. Just as the native's strengths 
of acceptance and appreciation lie in his world view, so do 
his faults. M'Cola remains essentially an onlooker— not an 
actor— in the comedy of the world. The artifact instrumen- 
tal in his downfall illuminates the workings of this guide. 
In Droopy 's country the gun served to validate M« Cola's com- 
petence as guide; in the country of rain it invalidates his 
competency for the next phase of the narrator's journey. In 
addition, M'Cola is only the bearer of the gun, not the dis- 
charger of its explosive power. The bearer may look with 
delight upon the spectacle of 3'wana and the birds, but he 
himself makes neither life nor death happen. M'Cola never 
kills during the safari; neither does he provide food. In 
the end, M'Cola laughs at, not with, the world. The values 
of this guide are those of a superb contemplator and he 
generously passes on to a willing recipient the values of 
a mind wide-ranging in its considerations, none more recep- 
tive in its outlook. But his limits lie in those same 
values of the power of contemplation itself. As experienced 
by the narrator of Green Hills of Africa , in the journey 
this man makes intellect alone will suffice only so far. 
By the end of three parts and eleven chapters of Green Kil ls, 


the westward wanderer/wonderer has integrated Droopy' s 
grasp of the sensory with M' Cola's model of the mind. 
Equipped now with body and mind, the narrator/artist leaves 
behind the road of M'Cola for the third and most challeng- 
ing phase of his personal journey— the virgin land, the 
country of the imagination. 


The Form in the Landscape 

The advent of the rainy season entails a time of great 
transition for the land of Africa, from the smallest guinea 
to the largest elephant. The present of the narrative is 
lived on the crest of a mounting wave of change, which 
breaks over the landscape in the onslaught of rain. As 
depicted in these pivotal four days between the dry and 
rainy seasons, the world the narrator lives in is charac- 
terized above all by flux. The physical reaction of the 
earth to the inundating waters indicates the nature of such 
change. One immediate consequence is, of course, the rust 
that eats at the metal of the narrator's gun; another is the 
flooded saltlick. Both chemical decomposition and struc- 
tural damage bear witness to the destructive facet of the 
process of change. But while the rain causes decay in the 
present, it simultaneously prepares the continent for future 
renewal. These seasonal rains supply the forward-looking 
factor in the landscape of Green Hills of Africa ; their 
waters insure for the coming year the very greenness of the 
hills. As evidenced in these multiple, co-existent perspec- 
tives, rain as the agent of change brings both corrosion 
and generation to the continent of Africa. 



Nowhere is the pervasiveness of this change reflected 
more concisely than in the first scene in Part IV. On the 
last afternoon of the safari, natives have come to the narra- 
tor's camp bearing electrifying news: "'He says,' Pop began, 
'They have found a country where there are kudu and sable. 1 " 
At this sudden release from what had been thought a doomed 
enterprise, the narrator catapults out of the doldrums of 
Chapter Eleven ("'I've hunted them hard, Pop. . . . I've 
enjoyed it and I haven't worried up until today"') into the 
motion of Chapter Twelve as he heads out to the new, unhunted 
country with the natives. But the archetypal landscape so 
central to Part I has been washed by the rains of Part III. 
Now as the narrator moves through that landscape in the 
first scene of Part IV, three of its major components betray 
the effect of that change; the guide, the road, and the 
blind have been either destroyed or transformed, 

Highly significant is the change effected in the human 
component, the guide M'Cola. The figure of the African 
guide looms less large as the safari nears its end, declining 
from the heroic Droopy to the more fallible M'Cola. By the 
time of Part IV, when the narrator abandons the road and the 
blind, M'Cola has become only one among a handful of less 
commanding figures. The current status of his participation 
in the narrator's growth shows itself in the guide's reac- 
tion to the moment for which they've all waited, when the 


narrator and his party strike out for the kudu and the vir- 
gin land in the first scene of Chapter Twelve. From the 
front seat the narrator "looked around at the back of the 
car. M'Cola was asleep." 

The sleeping guide has fulfilled the potential resi- 
dent within him from his first appearance in the narrative. 
From the moment M'Cola raises his "bald black skull" and 
displays the "thin Chinese hairs at the corners of his 
mouth," his exterior is always cast in Oriental terms. The 
ethnic imagery, reinforced by his geographical duties as 
guide, serves as a constant visual reminder that above all 
this guide helps to orient the narrator within the world. 
When in Part III the American pupil internalizes the accept- 
ing, appreciative viewpoint held toward the world by his 
African mentor, he is then provided with the means to relate 
to that world. The vision of the Oriental African furnishes 
an internal gyroscope for his pupil, permitting sure move- 
ment in a world increasingly fluid. The need for such 
ability becomes paramount when the hunting party separates 
from the rest of the safari and deserts the road, directing 
their car toward parts unknown. As the party ventures out, 
M'Cola takes a backseat and closes his eyes in sleep. In 
the blind and along the road, the black countenance has 
always acknowledged and valued the world passing before it, 
but now it closes itself to the world, its faculties in 
suspension. The new land M'Cola travels generates demands 


beyond the elder guide's capabilities. Therefore, having 
equipped his pupil with a working legacy, M'Cola releases 
him to the vision of the Wanderobo seated in the front 
seat . . . and lapses into sleep. The narrator, a more 
capable agent of life, must answer the demands of the vir- 
gin land. 

The placement of the hunting company in the car reveals 
the shifting emphasis in the narrator as he begins to track 
the kudu. M'Cola has previously commanded the strategic 
position by the narrator's side, first in the roadside blind 
and then in the makeshift tent. But now one of the natives 
who has brought news of the kudu and sable occupies that 
place. The native, a Wanderobo tribesman, flanks the narra- 
tor in the front seat. It is important to the development 
of the narrator, however, that one authority figure not 
merely replace another. Consequently, because neither his 
personal name nor a nickname is ever given in Part IV, the 
Wanderobo functions less as a personality and more as the 
qualities the name of his tribe suggests; when the narrator 
ventures into the virgin country, into the unknown, the 
qualities of the wanderer/wonderer come to the fore. This 
transposition of a Wanderobo for M'Cola indicates the active 
realignment going on in the narrator. An intellectual 
observer, M'Cola lives apart from the life observed. As 
the narrator grows into his full potential as an artist — 
incorporating Droopy 's sensory health and M' Cola's mental 

tolerance— he must reach beyond the latter 's innate passiv- 
ity to become an imaginative participant in the creation 
before him. This emphasis on participation finds its repre- 
sentative in the Wanderobo. Unlike M'Cola, whose unblink- 
ing vision comprehends an eternal present of counter-balan- 
cing beginnings and endings, the new native— like the rains 
in Part III— turns to the future. He has seen the kudu and 
sable, the magnetic quarries that draw the narrator on. 
His forward-directed vision leads the hunters into Part IV. 
The thrust of this vision becomes evident upon examina- 
tion of the role of the Wanderobo as a group throughout the 
safari. From the very sentence that initiates the narra- 
tive— "We were sitting in the blind that Wanderobo hunters 
had built of twigs and branches'"— the Wanderobo functions as 
the narrator's predecessor in the journey of the road, the 
builder of forms the narrator still inhabits. He is the 
first artificer mentioned in the book and comes to repre- 
sent all the people on the road, the westward travellers 
who carry arrows and spears, pots and pans, in their hands. 
These implements mark the moment when the circumstances of 
their wanderings set these people to wondering; the artifacts 
are the answers of their invention to the challenge of the 
environment. The same urge to manipulate one's world that 
moved the travellers to shape weapons and containers, the 
anonymous Wanderobo hunters to construct the blind, now 
moves the narrator. He exhibits those values of mobility 


and curiosity that provoked another wanderer/wonderer to 
realize in twigs and branches the form in the landscape. 

Just as M'Cola, the human component in the landscape, 
undergoes change, so do the manmade forms. Green Hills 
begins with the narrator crouching by a structure that 
winds its way through the geography of eleven chapters — 
the road. But the downpour of Part III renders that road 
impassable, and in the first scene of Part IV this trace 
of man's presence quickly dissipates. The narrator's car 
launches out on a "road that was only a track," "only a. 
cattle track." The hunters then pursue "a faint trail the Wan- 
derobo pointed out" until "there was no track, only the 
general direction to follow." Soon, having broken free of 
the road and all outside points of reference, the party 
rely instead on inner references, "driving with intelligence 
and a sound feeling for the country." As a form the road 
is a product of the past, its very existence the evidence 
of others who have gone before. But before the establish- 
ment of roadways, pioneers must walk the virgin lands. If 
the routes they ferret out are advantageous, others will 
follow and the subsequent communal effort create the road. 
But first must come the individual who dares to veer away 
from the past of the road into the future of the unknown. 
The road disappears from the landscape of Chapter Twelve 
when the narrator enters the virgin land, when the road's 


fixed, known direction renders it an instrument inadequate 
to the scope of his wanderings. 

Rather than disintegrating like the road, the second 
manmade form in the landscape— the blind—undergoes a meta- 
morphosis. Images of matrices mark the narrator's trek 
across Africa: the Rift Valley, the Wanderobo blind, the 
makeshift tent. The several permutations signify the narra- 
tor's intensifying involvement with the world: their con- 
struction shews man's advances in shaping his earth. A 
primordial matrix commands the vista at the outset of the 
safari, the awesome chasm of the Rift Valley, within whose 
rock walls the waters of Lake Manyara quench the dust of 
the plain. This first hollow is an entirely natural phenom- 
enon, singular and ponderous in its domination of the 
countryside. The narrator and his companions feast on its 
abundant supplies of water and game. The next womb image, 
the blind built by the Wanderobos, exhibits in its making 
an advance beyond the geological formation; it requires the 
quantitative rearrangement of nature by man. Wanderobo 
hands dug the hollow beside the road and placed the twigs 
and branches above its sides in an effort to facilitate the 
exploitation of another natural resource, the saltlick. In 
the rift the range of the hunters is circumscribed to 
the fertile shore of Lake Manyara; but with blinds that 
can be built in any number and any place, the matrical form 
multiplies to answer the needs of the human hunter. The 


narrator, following in the footsteps of the Wander obos, is 
heir to their ingenuity; he too hunts from the blind. But 
this construction never permits capture of the greater 
kudu for which he searches, and in the rain of Part III, 
both the saltlick and the nearby blind are washed away. 
The thus outmoded form is altogether absent from the open- 
ing of Part IV. However, its function does not vanish from 
the landscape; the blind metamorphoses into the makeshift 

Throughout the African countryside, green tents have 
dotted the path of the safari. For nine chapters the narra- 
tor has lived in enclosures that are both structured (house- 
like, with flaps for doors) and communal (such as the dining 
tent, the most frequently mentioned tent, and others large 
enough to accommodate couples) . But a change transpires 
after the destruction of the blind by the rain. The tent 
that rises out of the flood in Part III differs from its 
predecessors. First of all, it is improvised from its very 
inception, beginning as a canvas ground cloth packed in the 
narrator's car along with other supplies (p. 32). And 
secondly, it is uniquely suited to the individual: when the 
narrator is stranded on the road, the tent provides ideal 
housing for this transient with its immediate response to 
the environment ("My ground sheet tent was slung between a 
tree and one side of the chicken coop"). This adaptibility 
qualifies it for the exigencies of the kudu hunt, which is 


manifestly an individual, not a communal, enterprise. Just 
as the blind heralds an advance beyond the Rift Valley, so 
the makeshift tent supercedes the blind. The blind entails 
a quantitative reshaping of the earth; the processing of 
cotton into canvas necessitates a qualitative transforma- 
tion of the material universe. The end product of this 
process, a canvas cocoon, reaffirms in its connotation of 
gestation the tent's identity as a matrical form. From a 
chasm that dwarfs the hunter to a shelter that answers his 
every demand, the matrix proves a viable form for the land- 
scape of Green Hills of Africa . The plural attributes of 
its most refined version, the ground sheet tent, qualify 
the tent for the world of change. It is strong enough to 
withstand the country of rain, plastic enough to go into 
the virgin land. With the re-emergence of the tent in 
Part IV, the narrator comes into his own as a participant 
in creation, as a maker of forms. The narrator/artist 
carries this ability with him just as the narrator/hunter 
carries the tent. In both capacities this individual com- 
mands the means to create a world. 

The Sign of the Heart 

The Foreword to Green Hills of Africa issues an intri- 
guing invitation to the narrative's readers: "Any one not 
finding sufficient love interest is at liberty, while read- 
ing [this book] , to insert whatever love interest he or she 


may have at the time." That a seeming "travelogue" should 
introduce the subject of love in its second sentence reveals 
an unusual concern with that subject on the part of the 
narrative. In many ways, however, Green Hills of Africa is 
a love story. The "love interest" of the narrator is 
revealed straight away in Chapter One; he and his friends 
are sitting in the blind at the side of the road because 
they have seen "long, heart-shaped, fresh tracks of four 
greater kudu bulls that had been on the salt the night 
before." Beginning with this first sign and continuing 
throughout the narrative, the kudu is always described in 
terms of the heart. In fact, the story opens upon a most 
propitious day: when one examines the timing of the February 
journey, one discovers that Green Hills begins on Valentine's 
Day. But the employment of heart imagery ranges beyond 
the sentimentality of the valentine to embrace the heart 
and circulatory system in a subtle actualization of the pro- 
cesses of life itself. The narrator tracks the elusive 
kudu to the "last hour of the last day" of the safari, for 
not until then does a greater kudu bull appear before him. 
Thus the "love interest" first raised in the Foreward has to 
sustain the American hunter many, many African miles. Like 
the rains which promise the future fertility of the hills 
and the Wander obo whose vision leads the hunting party to 
the virgin land, the narrator's "love interest" provides a 


major thrust in the narrative, as is so deftly indicated 
in the homonymic "Foreward." 

The varied wildlife the narrator meets in the course 
of the safari serves to prepare him for his encounter with 
the kudu in Part IV. The first animal killed under Droopy ' s 
eye, the reedbuck, is an antelope like the kudu and func- 
tions as an antecedent for the more significant member of 
its species. It initiates the heart imagery: 

I felt for the heart behind the fore- 
leg with my fingers and feeling it 
beating under the hide slipped the 
knife in but it was short and pushed 
the heart away. (p. 53) 

Beginning with this initial contact, the narrator's effort is 
to get to the heart, to grasp the living center. The reed- 
buck is a beginner's clumsy try; at the elemental phase in 
Droopy ' s country the American hunter has much to learn. But 
he senses intuitively what is most important about the task 
before him, and he learns. After Droopy schools him in the 
body, an incident in the Rift Valley gauges the effect: 

we came on a water buck that had heard 
us, but not scented us, and as we stood, 
perfectly quiet, M'Cola holding his hand 
on mine, we watched him, only a dozen 
feet away. . . . M'Cola was grinning, 
pressing his fingers tight on my wrist. . . . 
(pp. 138-9) 

As the pair observe the water buck, also an antelope, the 

native grasps the American's wrist—taking his pulse. These 

encounters with the two hunted animals act as indicators of 

the hunter's own improving health; the proliferation of 


heart imagery in the African bush country reflects the life 
quickening within the narrator. His heart beats even more 
strongly in the virgin land of Chapter Twelve when, having 
absorbed M' Cola's contribution as well as Droopy' s, he in 
effect hunts alone. Aborigines hand a captured rabbit to 

[I] could feel the thumping of his 
heart through the soft, warm, furry 
body, and as I stroked him the Masai 
patted my arm. (p. 220) 

The narrator cradles the one indigenous creature while the 
other registers his heart beat. Skin-to-skin, the rhythms 
of the newcomer and his welcomers beat in time. 

The territory which witnesses this attunement first 
receives its designation in Chapter Twelve: "this was a 
virgin country, an un-hunted pocket in the million miles 
of bloody Africa." (p. 218) Given the presence of Mr. 
Jackson Phillips, the safari's English white hunter, the 
narrator's use of Briticisms such as "bloody" assumes added 
prominence. A few common examples — "petrol" (gasoline), 
"tin" (can), "torch" (flashlight) —are thinly sprinkled 
through the text, but on the whole the American hunter fore- 
goes their use. The two exceptions to this practice there- 
fore serve to make their respective points more effectively. 
The first Briticism in the narrative, "lorry," is used 
specifically in Chapter One to solidly identify Kandisky's 
vehicle as a European creation. The second exception, 


"bloody," appears on practically every page of the text. 
Such wholehearted adoption of the word by the American narra- 
tor, in the face of normal restraint, demands attention. 
"Bloody," of course, operates as a profane intensive; but 
at one and the same time the prolific term is also a heart 
word. When the narrator hunts kudu through "bloody Africa," 
he tracks the sign of the heart across the domain of the 

The American hunter finally meets his elusive prey in 
the virgin country that opens up Chapter Twelve. On the 
last afternoon of the safari's last day, just when he has 
almost resigned himself to defeat, suddenly comes news of 
the spotting of the kudu. It is as if a hole opens sudden- 
ly in what had been a closed universe and the narrator 
shoots through into the universe of change and chance in 
Part IV. Initially the narrator brings with him the weight 
of preconceptions from Part III ("my exhiliration died with 
the stretching out of this plain, the typical poor game 
country"), but the land surprises him as he moves on into 
the veritable explosion of green that burgeons before him: 

The grass was green and smooth, short 
as a meadow that has been mown and is 
newly grown, and the trees were big, 
high-trunked, and old with no under- 
growth but only the smooth green of the 
turf like a deer park. ... (p. 217) 

"Putting-green smoothness," "this green valley" — the virgin 

land is hallmarked by fertility, both vegetative and animal. 


In his first impression of this land, the narrator dubs it 
"a deer park." Indeed, he points in the text to his choice 
of words, pondering "how to describe this deer park country 
and whether deer park was enough to call it." (p. 281) On 
a simple level, the narrator's choice of words is appro- 
priate, since the antelope of the virgin country is related 
to the deer family. But on a more complex level, "deer" 
conjures up "dear," a heart word. m the case of the kudu, 
the pun on "dear" operates in both senses of the word, as 
something beloved and as something valued. 

The most penetrating encounter of the narrator with 
the beloved and valued creatures of the deer park is, of 
course, his long-awaited rendezvous with the kudu. In the 
"last hour best hour" of the safari, the hunting party sud- 
denly spots across a stream 

a large, gray animal, white stripes 
showing on his flanks and huge horns 
curling back from his head as he stood, 
broadside, to us, head up, seeming to 
be listening. (p. 229) 

The narrator gets off two shots at the bolting game; then 

none of us [were] breathing as we saw 
him standing in a clearing a hundred 
yards ahead, . . . looking back, wide 
ears spread, big, gray, white-striped, 
his horns a marvel, as he looked 
straight toward us over his shoulder 
(pp. 230-31) 

After firing once again, the narrator stumbles over a car- 
cass he discovers to be the first bull seen at the stream. 
Then several yards ahead he finds the second bull who had 


looked back. How prolific this green deer park! Not only 
does the narrator finally see a kudu after nearly exhaust- 
ing his allotted time, but it is a prize specimen and there 
is not one, but two! it is as if in addition to the unex- 
pected new space of the unhunted land, the animal life too 
begins to replicate. 

The most extraordinary moment of the hunt occurs when 
the second kudu looks straight back over his shoulder at 
the hunting party; as M'Cola explains, the second bull, 
having run with the wounded first bull, turns to discover 
why that one no longer follows (p. 223). The image the ani- 
mal presents as he turns etches itself into the narrator's 
vision: framed in a clearing, set off from the furor of the 
chase, the kudu stands pristinely alone in its uniqueness. 
This is the encounter to which the other antelope were pro- 
logue, and it is neither clumsy as with the reedbuck or 
surreptitious as with the water buck. The bull halts 
briefly i n its forward plunge and for a moment two living 
creatures behold each other in a direct and vital exchange. 
The moment does not linger—the kudu at the stream is 
already dead, and soon so is its fellow. But in that one, 
clear moment the hunter beholds his deer, the lover his 
beloved - 

The Kudu and the Sable 

The narrator's preference for the greater kudu as his 
"love interest" over trophies more traditionally associated 


with African safaris discloses his concern with private, 
not public, values. The structure of Green Hills of Africa 
mirrors this emphasis by relating only one of the obliga- 
tory big game kills. The relegation of the confrontation 
between the narrator and the lion to Chapter Two (pp. 40-41) 
diffuses the impact of the incident early on. The hunt 
practically ignores the bigger game, three lion and two 
leopard being the only carnivores taken. The other meat- 
eaters, for the most part, are the hyenas and the humans 
themselves. Rather, the expedition centers more upon her- 
bivores, not even African exotica like elephants (of whom 
we see only tracks and dung) but mostly antelope — roan, 
reedbuck, water buck, oryx, impala, eland, bushbuck, Grant's 
gazelle, kudu and sable. Indeed, as Pop says of the narra- 
tor's love interest, "[kudu are] the commonest big antelope 
in this bush country. It's just that when you want to see 
them you don't." Given the availability of the quarry, the 
"dearness" of the deer park creatures must lie not in their 
scarcity, but in their fulfillment of an inner need in the 
narrator, in an inward response they alone evoke in him. 

The sign of the heart leads here, to the clearing in 
the wood where the kudu turns. These two factors, the place 
and the manner in which the narrator discovers the bull, 
illuminate what the narrator finds at the end of the heart- 
shaped path. Having gotten off two shots, he spots an 
animal he believes to be the first bull "standing in a 


clearing a hundred yards ahead." it is most significant 
that the place of this crucial encounter is "in a clearing." 
A gerund, "clearing" indicates not only a place that has 
been cleared but also an act that clears. it is this ver- 
bal attribute of the word that carries the kudu hunt pas- 
sage. The hunter's first shot, for example, depends 
entirely upon his expertise in "clearing:" - [I] commenced 
to crawl forward to be clear of the bush, sick afraid the 
bull would jump." as the narrator/hunter successfully 
clears his vision, so the narrator/artist clears his. His 
eye catches the bull in a clearing, free of interference 
from the terrain, free of human intrusion from the chase. 
It is as if that narrative eye blinks to wash the scene of 
all extraneous matter and opens, virgin, upon its long- 
awaited object of desire. 

In that one moment, "looking back, ... his horns a 
marvel, . . . [the kudu] looked straight toward us over his 
shoulder." This direct, vibrant exchange between hunted 
and hunter, image and artist, culminates in a far-reaching 
vision of life. The narrator discovers the bull in motion: 
in the momentary turn of its flight, and in the more endur- 
ing turnings of its life as captured in its spiralling 
horns. such turns, caught in the spirals, reveal much. 
From the helix of the kudu to the arc of the sable, horns 
are the layered excrescences of life. Unlike antlers which 
are lost yearly, horns are lifetime tracings of the growth 


of their formative organism. They acquire their shape from 
constant contact with a vital center, the keratin benefici- 
aries of the pith that wells up from within. In addition 
to the origins, the multitudinous shapes of the horns also 
provide insight, the kudu horns in particular. The helical 
growths incorporate a distinctive element of thrust in 
their design; they grow not aimlessly, nor circle repeti- 
tively, but evolve . This evolution in their physical con- 
figuration also governs the appearance of the horns in the 
timespan of the narrative. The sequence in which certain 
horns are pursued at certain times in the narrative reveals 
a pattern; beginning with the simple hook of the rhinoceros, 
through the more intricate variations of the intervening 
water buffalo and lesser antelope, to the complex spiral 
of the kudu, the narrator pursues increasingly more developed 
horns at the same time he is adding new dimensions to his 
own experience. In the clearing when he finally sees before 
him the spiral in its full complement, it is because he has 
laid a proper foundation for it and can now be suitably 
receptive. This correlation between the hunting trophies 
and the narrator's existence is strengthened when he 
expresses the impulse of his own life in horn-like terms: 
"I've had a better time every year since I can remember." 
The kudu horns prove particularly apt with their distin- 
guishing thrust; the comparative degree of "a better time 


every year" suggests not just an annual accumulation of 

experience but a qualitative advance - 

The principle of advance operative in the kudu horns 

finds its linguistic equivalent in the part of speech most 

conducive to action, the verbal, which carries the kudu 

passage. The phrase "in the clearing," which initiates the 

passage, utilizes the gerund. The narrator's subsequent 

perception of the horns employs the attributes of another 

verbal, the participle. These verbals imbue their subject 

with activity; the magnificent kudu at the stream sports 

"huge horns curling back from his head," "great, curling, 

sweeping horns." The participles prepare the way for the 

triumphant image the narrator relates when the hunting 

party breaks camp in the virgin land. He stands alone before. 

the prizes of his journey and takes in their full beauty: 

From the white, cleanly picked skulls 
the horns rose in slow spirals that 
spreading made a turn, another turn, 
and then curved delicately in to those 
smooth, ivory-like points. (p. 276} 

In the narrator's observation, the participles give way to 

the even mors commanding vigor of active verbs. The horns 

shape themselves right before the narrator's eyes: "the 

horns r ose in slow spirals that spreading made a turn, 

another turn, and then curved delicately in." The spirals 

embody the upward-struggling, ever-aspiring impulse forward 

that has informed the story of Green Hills of Africa from 

its first word to the end of the heart-shaped path and beyond. 


These curling, sweeping, spreading growths that rise, turn, 
and curve present a dynamic model of life — not of what life 
is , but of how it works . 

When the narrator and his party finally enter the vir- 
gin land and set up camp in the on-coming darkness, they 
manage to sight the kudu in record time; "we had not been 
gone ten minutes" when the first bull appears. Soon after, 
the darkness that circumscribed their hunting to the last 
hour of the last day falls, yet brings with it a full night 
of feasting: 

It was getting cold and the night 
was clear and there was the smell 
of the roasting meat, the smell of 
the smoke of the fire. . . . Each 
man had his own meat or collection 
of pieces of meat on sticks stuck 
around the fire, they turned them 
and tended them, and there was much 
talking. (p. 23 9) 

It is fitting that this hunt, more than any other, should 

climax in a festival of food. Like the reedbuck before it, 

the body of the kudu provides nourishment for the hunters 

who have brought down their prey. The kudu is the gift of 

the green hills. From the rains that fall yearly the grass 

grows and turns the land to green; on that bounty the kudu 

feed, and they in turn nourish man. This transformation of 

energies, from the plant life of the green hills, to the 

grasseating antelope, to the meateating man enacts more 

and more complex stages in the mighty chain of earth's 


regeneration of life with life. But the festival of the 
kudu does not end with sated senses. At the same time kid- 
ney and liver broiled over the open fire satisfy the narra- 
tor/ hunter's hunger, the horns of the kudu furnish aesthet- 
ic nourishment for the narrator/artist. This revitali- 
zing property of the horns is stressed by their depiction 
as a visual feast; their colors are cast in terms of food 
imagery, "brown as walnut meats" and "the color of black 
walnut meats." Rather than satiation, the festival of the 
kudu invigorates the narrator. His eyes do not close at 
all in sleep that night. 

The narrator's quest for kudu ends with darkness, as 
the hunters feed upon the takings of the day. The festival 
of the kudu brings to a close the fourth day of the present 
time of the narrative, the day designated in the first few 
pages of Green Hills of Africa as the end of the safari. 
But this original time limit of four days suddenly gives 
way in Part IV. The bounds of the narrator's world have 
already expanded to include the new space of the virgin 
land; now they yield for an additional day, a new animal, 
and a bonus chapter. It is highly significant that the 
capture of the long-sought kudu does not climax the narra- 
tor's hunt. Such an unexpected turn in the timing of the 
story demands attention. The words that herald the discov- 
ery of the kudu's home provide a clue to this aberration; 


as Pop translates for the Wander obo, "They have found a 
country where there are kudu and sable." Thus from the 
first the virgin land is identified as the home of the sable 
as well as the kudu. Implicit in the Wanderobo ' s founding 
vision, and borne out in the subsequent realization of that 
vision, is this coupling of the helix-bearing kudu with the 
other antelope. Neither species is even glimpsed by the 
narrator outside the virgin land, while within its grounds 
both flourish. The equal emphasis upon each one of the 
antelope determines the . structure of the narrative as well: 
of the two chapters comprising Part IV, Chapter Twelve 
deals with the kudu on the afternoon of the fourth day, and 
Chapter Thirteen covers the sable on the fifth. 

Chapter Twelve has established the first antelope, the 
grey-and-white kudu, as a carrier of life. In Chapter Thir- 
teen its dark twin, the sable, becomes the champion of death. 
The narrator's first glimpse of the sable parallels his 
initial meeting with the kudu: "I saw the dark, heavy-built 
antelope with scimitar-like horns swung back staring at us." 
In the directness of the moment two features stand out that 
are unique to the dark antelope — its color and its horns. 
The striking blackness of the sable, the only antelope in 
Green Hills with this hue, immediately calls up connotations 
of death. The animal's very name is synonymous with black, 
and phrases such as "dead black" and "black as hell" in the 
narrator's description reinforce funereal associations. In 


addition to the color of the sable, its horns also confirm 
its identification with death. The "two great curves 
nearly touching the middle of [the sable's] back" duplicate 
the dark coloring of the coat. More profoundly, the func- 
tion of the horns in the survival of the animal is recalled 
when the adjective "scimitar-like" compares their arc to a 
weapon. Dyed in the signature of mourning and armed with a 
death-dealing crest, the sable radiates the energy of death. 

The thematic and structural ascendancy of the dark 
antelope brings into prominence a concern central to the 
narrative, the phenomenon of death. One of the safari 
guides provides a key insight along these lines in Chapter 
Five at the shooting of the water buffalo: "'Kufal' M'Cola 
said, making the word for dead almost explosive in its 
force," This remarkable pronouncement carries implications 
crucial to the narrator's story. Death in Green Hills of 
Africa is, as indicated by the verbal expression M'Cola 
gives it, an explosive phenomenon. The informing vision of 
the narrative conceives destruction to be as dynamic, neces- 
sary, and valid a part of experience as preservation or 
generation. The means with which this concern with death 
is most completely worked out is in the image of the modern 
day scimitar, the gun, the artifact which delivers this 
explosive force into the hands of the hunter. The access 
to the power that the gun offers faces each hunter with a 
demanding question: how does one exercise this power? 


The attitude of each hunter toward the gun reveals his 
viewpoint toward the larger phenomenon of death in the 
world. Kandisky, the representative of European organiza- 
tion, does not fire a shot in Green Hills . As evidenced by 
his participation in the German war effort, he prefers the 
group exertion of this power and the concomitant organiza- 
tional decisions that buffer him from facing death as an 
individual. When Kandisky meets the narrator on the road 
in Chapter One, the European chides the American hunter's 
willingness to deal directly in death — while dining on 
Grant gazelle at the narrator's table and sporting conspic- 
uous leather shorts. Kandisky' s solution to the dilemma 
of death is to refuse to confront the question; the parasit- 
ic and obtuse image he presents in the narrator ' s camp 
refutes this solution outright. In contrast to the Austrian 
expatriate, the native Africans exhibit a much more empiri- 
cal approach. For Droopy and M'Cola, the gun has functioned 
as the supreme test of their fitness to guide the narrator 
through the land of Africa. Their proficiency determines 
their span of influence: the former's failure to master the 
shotgun at the border of his country ends Droopy 's domina- 
tion of Part II; the latter' s laxity in safeguarding the 
rifle from the rain marks M'Cola' s decline in Part III. 
But both Droopy and M'Cola are limited to the role of gun- 
bearer; they do not activate the arms they carry. The role 


of discharger of the gun's explosive power is reserved to 
the narrator. 

The American has shot well throughout the safari, be- 
ginning with the reedbuck and rhino and culminating with 
the kudu. Within the deerpark so green that it verges on 
the idyllic, it seems there is nothing the narrator can't 
do. Yet on the fifth day of the safari when the narrator 
and his party take up the trail of the dark game, this 
success evaporates. The kudu has appeared before the narra- 
tor in the clearing within ten minutes of his making camp 
in the virgin land. But the sable must be tracked for hours, 
forcing the hunting party to scramble through nearby hills. 
Worst of all is the shooting. The first female animal in 
the entire safari is mistakenly killed, and the much-prized 
sable bull is not killed but terribly wounded. The resultant 
chase after the bull culminates in a peak of physical punish- 
ment and mental frustration for the narrator; once lost, 
neither he nor any of his guides can regain the trail of 
the wounded sable. 

The unattainable sable bull, resplendent in dusky coat 
and horn, teaches the man who follows its tortuous path a 
central lesson of Green Hills . When one accepts mortality, 
one eschews any promise of an afterlife; one cannot kill 
death . The narrator rejects such an escape in favor of 
being a part of the present creation — and participation in 
that creation entails mortality, limits, faults. After the 


rapturous encounter with the kudu, the sable hunt provides 
just such an exercise in limits; at its conclusion the 
American hunter is momentarily overwhelmed with thoughts of 
escape, musing morosely about the "decline" of America and 
his planned return to "unspoiled" Africa (pp. 281-35) . But 
by the time the hunting party has driven the fifty-five 
miles from the deerpark to where Pop and P.O.M. are camped, 
the narrator has emptied himself of this nostalgic self- 
indulgence. Those illusions are abandoned, along with any 
desire to transcend the world, in the country of the dark 

Instead, the narrator finds his own answer to the ques- 
tion of death in the final moments before the party abandons 
the deerpark camp. His inner resolution of this problem 
finds expression in the image that climaxes his stay in the 
virgin land and that he carries with him as he leaves its 
uncharted spaces for the givens of the road: 

From the white, cleanly picked skulls 
the horns rose in slow spirals that 
spreading made a turn, another turn, 
and then curved delicately into those 
smooth, ivory- like points. One pair 
was narrower and taller against the 
side of the hut. The other was almost 
as tall but wider in spread and heavier 
in beam. They were the color of black 
walnut meats and they were beautiful 
to see. I went over and stood the 
Springfield against the hut between 
them and the tips reached past the 
muzzle of the rifle. (p. 267) 

The horns are, of course, the precious helices from his two 


kudu, gifts of the virgin land, their reaching and curving 
"beautiful to see." But to this element of the image the 
narrator adds another, placing between the two kudu racks 
the artifact that made possible their capture. In this 
juxtaposition of horns and gun lies the narrator's solution. 
In one sense the weapon, the death-dealing rifle, stands 
in place of the other, unattainable trophy and weapon, the 
sable's scimitar horn. But in a more subtle and thorough- 
going sense those sable horns are vividly present in the 
hutside composition after all. Their distinctive dark color 
makes up the base of the spiralling kudu columns, and their 
geometric configuration of the arc comprises half a helical 
evolution. Thus by color and by shape the kudu hern incor- 
porates the sable into itself. 

The same act of integration occurs with the Spring- 
field rifle. Save for a ceremonial burst upon arrival at 
Pop's camp, the study the gun forms with the kudu horns 
marks its last appearance in Green Kills . Placed side by 
side with the pairs of horns, the line of the muzzle paral- 
lels the reach of the horns; in similar manner the explosive 
power potential in the gun complements the thrusting of the 
helix. As set out in this final image, the narrator comes 
to see that life does not reject death or separate itself 
from it; rather, just as the longer kudu horns encompass the 
shorter gun in their upward progress, so life incorporates 
death and goes on. Nowhere is this integration more complete 


than in the particular rifle that the narrator inserts 
between the horns. Named for the season of rebirth, the 
"Springfield" captures the vital interplay between death 
and renewal. 


As the narrator stands before the kudu horns and the 
gun, his eye ascends the length of horn, moving from the 
darker blacks and browns to the "ivory-like points." The 
allusion to ivory furnishes, of course, a direct assess- 
ment of the value of the horn. From the very first night 
of the safari a major source of ivory, the African elephant, 
has crossed the expedition's trail, dotting the landscape 
with its leavings (pp. 10, 249-50). But the elusive mam- 
moth never shows itself, a rather unusual feat. This well- 
defined absence of elephants from the safari sheds light 
upon the values operative in Green Hills . In the beginning 
of the narrative when the American hunter tells Kandisky 
that he is in Africa "shooting," the European admonishes, 
"Not ivcry, I hope." "No. For kudu," the narrator replies. 
But later in the same conversation he tells Kandisky that 
he would "kill a big enough [elephant] .... A seventy 
pounder. Maybe smaller." This spell of braggadocio proves 
prophetic, for in the end the narrator does indeed shoot 
for ivory — but not for that of the elephant. The acclaim of 
the big game trophy and the monetary worth of the tusks may 
well lure other hunters on other safaris, but on the narrator's 


private quest through the hills of Africa those public 
considerations are deemed as insubstantial as the phantom 
elephant. Instead he ventures after, and wins, the real 
ivory of Green Hills . The narrator /hunter takes home the 
ivory pointed helix, although his pairs are bested by the 
horns — "the biggest, widest, darkest, longest-curling, 
heaviest, most unbelievable pair of kudu horns" — Karl has 
brought in the interim to Pop's camp. The superlative de- 
gree of Karl's success underscores once again that for the 
narrator/artist the value of his horns lies not in their 
signification of public success, but rather in their func- 
tion as images in rendering his story of individual growth. 
And it is as an image in the service of the creative imagi- 
nation that the kudu horns climax the African adventure; 
beyond the text a line drawing of a triumphant kudu bull 
emblazons "The End" across the last page of the narrative. 
This flourish of the kudu at the end of the narrator's 
imaginative quest validates the achievement of that quest: 
the resultant work of art is the narrator's true trophy, 
Green Hills of Africa his ivory. 

Notes to Part IV 

Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa (New York: 

Charles Scribner ' s Sons, 193 5) , p~! 11: 

"We had only three days more because 
the rains were moving north each day 
from Rhodesia and unless we were pre- 
pared to stay where we were through 
the rains we must be out as far as 
Handeni before they came. We had set 
the seventeenth of February as the 
last safe dav to leave." 


Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story . New York: 
Bantam Books, 1969. 

Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. Princeton; 

Princeton University Press, 1952, 

(ed.) Hemingway and His Critics. New York: 

Hill and Wang, 1961. 

Hemingway, Ernest. Green Hills of Africa . New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1935. 

Kouwenhoven, John A. The Arts in Modern American Civiliza - 
tion . New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., .1948. 

The Beer Can by the Roadway: Essays on What 
is American About America . Garden City: Doubleday, 1961. 

Nahal, Chaman. The Narrative Pattern in Ernest Hemingway's 
Fiction . Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University 
Press, 1971. 

Robbe-Grillet , Alain. For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction . 
Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Grove Press, 
Inc. , 196 5. 

Robinson, W.R. "Frederic Henry's Individualist Art: The Form 
of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms , " unpublished 
MS. University of Florida, 1975. 

Scholes, Robert and Kellogg, Robert. The Nature of Narrative . 
London: Oxford University Press, 1966. 

Stevens, Wallace. The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and 
the Imagination . New York: Vintage Books, 1942. 

Wa 1 1 , Ian. The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richard - 
son and Fielding . Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 1957. 



Susan Lynn Drake was born March 20, 1951. She attend- 
ed elementary and secondary schools in De Funiak Springs, 
Florida, and graduated from Walton County High School in 
1969. She received the Associate of Arts degree from 
Pensacola Junior College, Pensacola, Florida, in 1971 and 
the Bachelor of Arts from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, 
Florida, in 1973. She continued graduate studies at the 
University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where she 
received the Master of Arts in 1976 and the Doctor of 
Philosophy in 1930. 


I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

W.R. Robinson, Chairman 
Professor of English 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

■*--' /ajl/L*sL^ 

Carl Br^dahl 

Associate Professor of English 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 


*•?£ - £r~ 

Ira Clark 

Associate Professor of English 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

Cvh j^S^jj 

John Perlette 


Associate Professor of English 

I certify that I have read this study and that in my 
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly 
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, 
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

\31-chard H. /^irs 
"Professor of ..Religion 

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of 
the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts 
and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted 
as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy. 

June 1980 

Dean, Graduate School